This project's funding goal was not reached on October 21, 2013.
About this project
Please visit http://moti.ph to see what's happening with moti. Thanks!
Moti makes it easier to build Robots.
Anyone that's built a robot knows how hard it can be. Days if not weeks of coding and electronics are required just to get your robot off the ground.
What if making a robot was as simple as snapping motors together and having instant control from a browser? That's the idea behind Moti.
Simply attach Moti Smart Motors to anything and use our graphical app to bring your creation to life...presto, instant robot! At the same time Moti is advanced enough to satisfy makers and developers building complex machines. We've just done a lot of the grunt work so you can get on with your application.
What's a Smart Motor?
It's an ideal servo that has essential robot features built-in, including an Arduino-compatible microcontroller, a bunch of on-board sensors, continuous rotation and encoding, io pins for adding electronics, a web-API, instant networking with each other, and control over bluetooth.
The Story of Moti
My name is Nick, I've been making robots for over a decade, and know how hard it is…here's an art project I made back in 2004.
This thing had over 30 motors in it…which is neat because each motor adds resolution (kind of like pixels), making the motion appear more organic. But man! This robot stuff is hard!! So much coding and electronics just to get up and running. No wonder most people don't bother with it. It's a shame though, because there's a lot of interesting ideas and projects to explore.
For folks who want something quick and easy, we made a graphical app to control the motors. From the app you can control them live, or program them. And whether you are using one, or ten, all of your Motis are instantly recognized and controllable.
For makers, we packed Moti full of sensors and a programmable microcontroller (Arduino-compatible), so you can attach electronics right to the motor. We also solved a major annoyance, the angle limits of servos. Moti turns continuously and seeks position…so you can tell it to go 10.5 rotations and it will stop on a dime. We also created a bluetooth shield so you can control your robot wirelessly.
For coders, Moti has a web-API so you can develop your own websites and apps that control your robot. We picture new kinds of video games, visualizations and tutorials that integrate with real world contraptions.
Moti allows you to start quickly and then take it any direction you want. Basically, it's the kind of motor I wish I had 10 years ago, and the kind of motor that can help robotics finally move from industry into everyday life. It's a device people who want to build applications, rather than build everything from scratch.
3D printed Robots
Image downloading and printing a body, slotting in a few motis, then open a webpage to immediately control your new robot. Use it with cardboard, wood or as the perfect complement to 3D printing to make real devices. Moti brings your creations to life.
Want to make a camera dolly or do stop motion? How about animatronics? Perhaps remote control blinds with your phone? Automate things with Moti. It's a fun and easy way to augment your home and hobbies.
Education Through Play
Kids get moti, because the feedback is immediate...just attach it and use graphics to bring your toys, games and other gear to life. It's easy, creative and educational. As your inventions develop so does your understanding of STEAM (Sci, Tech, Eng, Art & Math).
Art and Design
Get going in a flash. Just turn on your moti, fire up our app, and spin the dial in your browser...your moti follows. It's completely intuitive. There are knobs for positioning. Sliders for speed. You can even use building blocks to sequence different motions.
Each Moti has an Arduino-compatible microcontroller built-in! That means you can reprogram them, add sensors and shields, and daisy-chain many motis together as your application demands.
You've designed a robot. How about creating a custom website, app, or game that controls it? Moti has a Web API so you can trigger actions from hyperlinks.
Continuous Rotation & Encoding - RC servos are stuck at half a rotation, whereas steppers have no feedback. Moti doesn't have these limitations. It spins continuously while giving precise position feedback, saving you a lot of time and planning.
Current, Voltage & Temperature Sensing Built-In - Is the battery getting too low? Is the motor running too hot? How much weight is it lifting? Moti has the sensors built-in to answer these questions. It can even auto-shutdown if it's unhappy.
IO Pins for Sensors & Shields - Need to add features to your robot? No more running wires all over. Just attach stuff right to the smart motor.
Control over Serial - Already have Arduino, perhaps an ftdi cable, how about a WiFi shield? You can control a Moti smart motor directly from a serial port.
Bluetooth Shield Available - Set your robot free with wireless control.
Open-Source Hardware - What if you want to make a product using Moti? What if you want to understand what's happening under the hood? What if you want to make your own variation, or create your own firmware?With Moti you can do any of these, because the hardware designs will be open-sourced for you to do with as you like.
Daisy-Chaining - Simply connect as many Motis together as you need. They are all auto-recognized by our app, where you can control them and access their features. For the curious, it's an i2c bus.
High-Torque & All Metal Gears - At 12kg-cm of torque Moti has the power to lift much more than your average servo.
Posable (Position Sampling) - Pose your robot, sample the position, move it and sample again. Then play back your poses. Perfect for animatronics. ( In Progress ).
Preliminary Characteristics - 6 to 9 Volts, 2 Amps Peak Current, 12kg.cm torque at 6 Volts.
We've been working on Moti for over a year now, and have made huge progress. We're on the 3rd generation prototype, and now want to get it in the hands of early users. That's where you come in. We need your help to do our first manufacturing run. More importantly, we want to get your feedback, and together start building a bunch of awesome robots.
Fundraising & Scheduling
Our campaign goal translates to a run of 2000 Motis, which makes the most sense. It will allow us to achieve some economies of scale with manufacturing. It will also demonstrate to potential investors that people are interested. And it will give us a bit of money to reinvest in the company so that Moti has some staying power.
Our planned ship date is 9 months from the close of the campaign, which breaks down as follows:
- 2 months - hardware review: consider campaign feedback, stress test & potential revision.
- 6 months - manufacturing: DFM, manufacturable prototype, tooling, production, and assembly. (Manufacturer has quoted 4.5 months for their end...additional 1.5 months for our reviews).
- 1 month - shipping - to us (or fulfillment house) then to you.
Where Moti is Going
Software: There's a ton of features we are excited to add to the browser app including:
- position sampling.
- mulit-moti sequencing.
- use profiles: "light-duty" for kids, "heavy-duty" for meety jobs.
- make "web-enable" button to allow access over the web.
Please note, all of these features already work in the backend & from the API. We now need to create nice ways for users to experience those features.
Hardware: Moti is impressive, but it's still early on and we just haven't tested it's limits. We don't yet recommend it for critical applications, such as using it for CNC. BUT that's how good we want it to be!!! In the meantime, we will stress test Moti, refine the hardware and firmware, and incorporate user feedback where possible. We'll also diversify the product line with some faster models, and some stronger.
Community: We want to follow in the steps of important projects like Arduino, Thingiverse and Shapeways and build up a strong community around Moti, where we share projects and designs with each other, enable users to build and sell products, and learn together how to robotify our world.
AcknowledgementsThanks to Kerry, Gwen, Avril, Jen, JR, Paul, Leila, and many others who helped us pull this off. Special thanks to Frank for designing the robot arm!! Props to InterAccess and ThingTank for generous studio access. Shouts out to the OpenServo project, and Arduino from which much of the design for Moti is derived.
Risks and challenges
Risk 1: Fulfillment is delayed due to problems with design, manufacturing, or international shipping.
Mitigation Strategy: We've several estimates and added a buffer time to our ship date. Also, we'll communicate regularly, so you know what's happening.
Risk 2: Moti can't do what you want and expected it to.
Mitigation Strategy: Show what it can do right now, and post updates with cool developments. Be open with the design. Also please contact us with any questions and concerns.
Challenge 1: The motor makes audible noise when it turns.
Mitigation Strategy: Moti is a metal-geared motor so it won't be silent, but we will work with our manufacturer to keep the volume to a minimum.
Challenge 2: Reducing the Arduino Program Size.
Mitigation Strategy: Refactor.
Warning 1: Moti can use a lot of current (2 Amps or more), make sure that your power supply is up to the job. 7.4V RC Lipo Batteries are recommended.
Warning 2: Moti is powerful, and can hurt! Do not let children use Moti without adult-supervision! Tie back long hair to prevent it getting tangled in the motor.
Warning 3: RC batteries can be dangerous if misused. Again do not let young children use it without supervision. And hede the battery instructions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, the Android app is well developed, and we are currently porting it to iOS as a native app as well.
Yes, but you have to increase your pledge by adding the "One Moti Smart Motor" reward as many times as you need motors. Kickstarter doesn't allow rewards that are only packs of products.
No way. We packed Moti full of awesome features, and got rid of the limits of conventional servos. Check out the feature list above to see all the goodness.
Understandable. Moti costs a fair bit for a single motor. It's because we pack a lot of stuff inside each motor. We hope that we can bring down the costs over time.
On the other hand consider what it would cost to build a Moti yourself (source - SparkFun):
Arduino - $30
Hi Torque Continuous Servo - $14
Current Sensor - $10
Temperature Sensor - $1.50
High Resolution Encoder - > $5
And these are only some of the features included in Moti. Then you'd have to do the work of bringing that together in one coherent system.
Also consider that many of the things that you can build quickly with Moti would probably cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars on their own.
- (30 days)