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Build an A.I. robot out of anything! From potatoes to clay, you can build your own robot and re-use the parts!
Build an A.I. robot out of anything! From potatoes to clay, you can build your own robot and re-use the parts!
1,194 backers pledged £69,453 to help bring this project to life.


Posted by Ross Atkin (Creator)

Hello Everyone.

Apologies for the delay since the last update. As I mentioned there, I was sick of telling you that things would happen on certain days and then have them not happen, so I didn’t want to send another update before I’d had final confirmation that your Smartibots had shipped. I’m very happy and relieved to say that I received that confirmation this morning. The kitting factory finished packing your last Tuesday, they were picked up by the fulfilment company on Wednesday and they cleared export checks and entered the shipping channels on Saturday*. They should now take about a week to get to backers in the UK, about two weeks to get to folks in Europe and the US and about three weeks to get to the rest of the world.

Smartibot kits packed in cartons ready for collection
Smartibot kits packed in cartons ready for collection
Cartons being collected by shipping company
Cartons being collected by shipping company

The kitting process ended up taking longer than we had expected because of a problem with the jig we had built to program and test the boards. It’s all run off a Raspberry Pi which somehow ended up booting into the wrong mode once it was set up in the factory. This meant that the process of programming and testing each board was taking about 10 times as long as it should have. As I’m sure any of you that have worked with anything with embedded Raspberry Pi know, these can be fiendishly hard to debug, so unfortunately it took us quite a while before we finally worked out what was happening and how to fix it. 

Troublesome test jig
Troublesome test jig

After some heroic work from Ting, and a lot of waking up in the night for me, we finally got it resolved on the 9th and things started to run to plan then. We tried to persuade the factory to speed things up by running the programming, packing and labelling processes in parallel but they wouldn’t do it because they thought it would increase the risk of some kits getting packed wrong (which was frustrating but I understood). It ended up taking them about a week and a half to get it all packed which is slower than we had hoped but still pretty good given how much goes into each kit.

I’ve got a few of the production kits coming to me, via one of those crazy-expensive high-speed courier companies, which were supposed to have a head start on the ones that are in the shipping channels, but they keep getting held up by random bits of admin. I’m hoping they will be with me tomorrow. I’m going to use them to film videos on how to assemble your Smartibots, how to use them with the app, and how to program them with the web-based IDE. I’ll put these in an update at the start of next week (along with links to the apps and IDE), which should hopefully coincide with the first kits landing on some of your door mats.

The kits are going out in these blue envelopes so watch out for that. We've made the boxes as thin as possible so hopefully they will get through many of your letter boxes
The kits are going out in these blue envelopes so watch out for that. We've made the boxes as thin as possible so hopefully they will get through many of your letter boxes

Thanks so much for your patience. It’s looking like we’re going to be a total of about 7 or 8 weeks late, which I’m really sorry about. I genuinely believed we would have got it all done on time when I put the campaign together and definitely wouldn’t have told you we’d manage a Christmas delivery if I’d been able to anticipate the problems that have cropped up. I guess the lesson is to always anticipate the unanticipated but it’s difficult to know how many unanticipated things to anticipate. 

Hopefully you’ll feel your Smartibots were worth the wait and thank you so much for your patience and support,


*The main batch that has shipped includes everyone who responded to the survey by December 22nd (that’s when the shipping labels were printed and sent to the kitting factory). We’re using a different fulfilment company for ongoing orders and need to run the Smartibots for people who have respond to the survey since the 23rd through them. They are collecting the kits tomorrow and they will ship towards the end of this week.

Alberto Sánchez, Jan Hanten, and 35 more people like this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Greg on

      Arrived! It looks like I thought it would. Now to build, or should I wait for my granddaughter? Hmmm…
      This is going to be fun.

    2. Dave Nattriss

      Received now in London 🤖 ☺

    3. Missing avatar

      Steve Hartley on

      ... Android App now on Play Store, and working fine .👍

    4. Missing avatar

      Steve Hartley on

      If it helps reassure anyone, received mine this morning. Everything as expected, assembled and working fine with App (Apple). Well done Ross for making this happen .

    5. Ross Atkin 2-time creator on

      @Alex and Nigel. We shipped the Android app this morning but it doesn't seem to have percolated through through unfathomable depths of the Play Store yet. I've also put together a webapp as backup but it seems Chrome won't let webapps use web bluetooth without an SSL certificate so I'm now waiting for that to come through too.

    6. Alex White on

      Received my Smartibot this morning...more than just a little bit excited! Waiting to hear about where to find the app...?!

    7. Rob Bezouwen

      Yep, i got it last Saturday my pledge, here in The Netherlands

    8. Missing avatar

      Nigel Smart on

      Really looking forward to trying out my Smartibot which arrived today. Have assembled it but cannot find the app on Google Play. Where is it?

    9. Missing avatar

      juan cheyre on

      Hi! when would we receive a tracking number?

    10. Missing avatar

      Mark Donnison on

      Looking forward to messing with it with my son.

    11. Darren Powell on

      Brilliant! Congratulation to Ross and the Smartibot team. Looking forward to building these with my two children and an end to my daughter asking me to write to Santa every day to find when when they'll be arriving :)

    12. Missing avatar

      Alain Chevalier on

      J'ai bien hâte de recevoir mes deux kits !
      Alain Ch.

    13. Missing avatar

      Steve Hartley on

      Thanks for sticking with it 👍

    14. Missing avatar

      Martha on

      Yay!!!!! Amazing!

    15. Andrew Daniel on

      I really can't wait to receive mine!