About this project
Meet the Crafty Robot
The Crafty Robot is a paper toy unlike any other. Plug Crafty into a USB for 30 seconds, unplug and you've got a moving robot.
Not Just One Robot
Crafty is powered by the Fizzbit, a rechargeable module that can bring movement to any robot creation however you want to make it.
Got a 3D printer?
CAD your own moving robot with only two parts! Don't fancy CAD? Just download this sweet moving Unicorn. We'll be creating new models regularly and we hope others will too!
Only got a regular 2D printer?
We've got loads of free templates (from Kanyes to Cowboys) to download and print at home, We'll be adding more every month. Fancy designing your own? We've got blank templates to get you started and once you're done we'd love to host your designs so other people can make them too.
Only got a cookie (or biscuit)?
I've got you. With the Fizzbit you can make a robot out of almost anything. The only limit is your imagination.
Programming not required (yet)
Crafty Robots are not programmable. Their behaviour is defined by their physical shape and material. Creating a new robot that behaves in a particular way requires a process of experimentation and iteration.
Right now there's a lot of focus on getting kids to code so they can build the future. This is a good thing but it risks too narrow a focus. Code is only useful as part of the process of turning technology into actual things people can use and enjoy. This process is design and engineering.
Today the technology that's changing the world is digital, back in the previous technological revolution it was electricity and steel and the one before steam and iron. By the time today's children begin their careers the digital revolution might be done and a new technology on the way.
What will always remain useful is understanding how to use technology creatively. How to shape it to your needs and desires through experimentation and iteration. Inventing Crafty Robots with the Fizzbit make this process accessible, immediate, tangible and fun dramatically lowering the entry point.
Once you're happy shaping technology to your ends it's a great time to learn to code. We see the crafty Robot as a fun and affordable first stepping stone towards more advanced robots based on Raspberry Pi and Arduino.
A Toy for the Future
The Crafty Robot is designed to be kind to the planet. The Fizzbit doesn't use batteries (not even rechargeable ones which still contain polluting materials and only last a few hundred cycles). Instead it uses a supercapacitor (a technology used in Formula 1 energy recovery systems) which can be re-charged thousands of times.
Because the Fizzbit can be re-used to make dozens of different robots, you can have the excitement of a new toy without anywhere near the environmental impact. All you are throwing away (or recycling) when you make a new Crafty Robot is some paper.
We did a life cycle analysis of the Crafty Robot compared to another popular vibrating robot toy. We found that through manufacture and use only, Crafty Robots generate only a third of the CO2 emissions compared to the other robots.
Made in England and Wales
Fizzbits and robot templates will both be made in the UK. This means that quality and workplace conditions will both be what you would want plus we can make our first batch of Crafty Robots and get them out to you really quickly.
The Fizzbit is a USB powered rechargeable vibration module. It stores energy in a supercapacitor which takes 30 seconds to charge. When it's unplugged the vibration motor starts running immediately and runs for just over 30 seconds before it needs another quick charge.
It can be re-charged with anything that has a USB port; your computer, USB hub, phone charger, car, Coolest Cooler, 747 etc. You can attach your Fizzbit to your robot creations using glue, foam tape, rubber bands, Blue Tac, Sugru and many more crafty methods. We've made a small run of Fizzbits already so we know they work and can be manufactured.
Meet the Robots
There are seven Crafty Robots. Orange has three siblings Blue, Social and Precious. Their cousins, Gunpei, Jerry and Alastair are also related to iconic pieces of digital technology.
Crafty Robots would not exist without the help of some incredibly kind and talented people. The Fizzbit wouldn't be manufacturable without Kevin, Andy, Geoff and Aaron. The Robots wouldn't be scalable without Rose and Alison. They wouldn't be nearly as fun without the advice of everyone who has played with earlier versions and given feedback. Thanks to all the Maker Faire patrons I've met as well as Mark, Albie and Milo. Thanks to Cedric for running the LCA. Thanks to Aron, Lea, Jude (from Design Modelling) and Heather for their advice, creativity and for being in the video. Thanks to Alice and Santi for shooting the video. Thanks to Isabel without who's advice and generous patience this would have been utterly impossible.
Risks and challenges
In my day job I've been dealing with product production for over ten years so I understand how difficult it is. Because of this I've taken every step to mitigate the risk of things going wrong.
I've got high quality UK manufacturers lined up to make both the Fizzbits and robot templates. The robot templates will be made in a factory that specialises in intricate packaging so I'm confident they will do a good job delivering on both time and quality.
We've already manufactured a small run of Fizzbits so the production kinks have been worked out. Because both factories are in the UK I'll be able to supervise production and quickly address any issues that do arise. Plus, I'll make sure to keep backers informed about what's going on.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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