About this project
The Linkbot is a modular robotic packed with technology and ready to bring your project from idea to working prototype. It's easy to get started with these built-in modes.
- TiltDrive lets you drive a Linkbot using the accelerometer of your smartphone or another Linkbot.
- CopyCat lets you control the motors of a Linkbot using a smartphone or another Linkbot.
- PoseTeaching lets you program motions into an unlimited number of Linkbots to create motion with your hands, kind of like stop-motion animation for robots!
- BumpConnect is how you can connect multiple modules, just hold the pair button and bump them together.
Just because it's easy to use out of the box doesn’t mean you’re limited in what you can do. A wide range of technology will engage the most advanced hackers and makers. The brain is an Arduino compatible ATmega128RFA1 by Atmel, running at 16MHz. It integrates an 8-bit AVR microcontroller with an 802.15.4-compliant and ZigBee-capable radio transceiver operating in the 2.4GHz band.
- Atmel AVR Microcontroller >> Compatible with Arduino so you can re-flash with your own firmware using the on-board bootloader
- ZigBee-Capable Radio >> Communicate wirelessly with an 802.15.4-compliant radio, create mesh networks, control and monitor remotely
- Multi-Color (RGB) LED >> Select from a full spectrum of colors
- 3-Axis Accelerometer >> Detect free-falls, bumps, tilt angles
- Buzzer >> Play notes or complete tunes, give audio responses to inputs
- RJ11 (6P4C) Expansion Connector >> Use a standard phone cable to connect our Bluetooth/breakout boards or your own electronics to your Linkbot's power and I2C bus
- 3x Buttons - Easily control Linkbot modes and functions or write custom functions for button presses
- Micro-USB Connector >> Connect to a computer or charger with a standard Micro-USB cable
- Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery >> Run your Linkbot for over 3 hours for most applications before having to charge
- High Torque:Weight-ratio Motors >> Light-but-strong motors produce up to 100oz-in of torque
- Absolute Encoding >> Precisely control and measure speeds and angles down to 0.5 degrees
- BaroboLink Software >> Graphical interface lets you run programs, actuate motors and read sensors on your computer
- Polycarbonate Housing >> Super-durable, drop-tested from second-story building (not recommended) so it can handle your demanding projects
- SnapConnector Mounting Surfaces >> Quickly connect and remove wheels, connecting plates, grabbers, even multiple Linkbots; or connect your own accessories with standard screws
Padlock Solving Linkbot
Open Source Breakout Boards
We offer an expansion boards that plugs into the robot with a standard phone cable, allowing you to connect external devices, such as IR proximity sensors, buttons and switches, photo detectors, or even more LEDs, to mention just a few. To enable direct wireless communication with computers and mobile devices such as Android phones and tablets, this board offers Bluetooth 2.0 capability.
Open Source Hardware Accessories
We give you access to all the 3D models for accessories so you can 3D print them on most hobby grade 3D printers. We want to build a community where you can download parts, make them uniquely yours and upload them to share with others. We've come up with a few cool ideas for accessories, but we're only scratching the surface and we need your help and genius!
Open Source Software
We've developed BaroboLink, an application that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux which provides a graphical interface for controlling your Linkbots. Connect and control your module and access sensors, run and edit programs. BaroboLink converts PoseTeaching into Python and C/C++ code.
The Linkbot communications protocol has been implemented as a cross-platform C library which includes functions to connect, move, and get data from robots. The library is able to communicate with any module over USB. Also, Linkbot can be used as a dongle to wirelessly communicate with other modules. The C library is compatible with SWIG, which may be used to generate wrapper libraries in a variety of different languages, including Java, C#, and Python.
Sponsor a School
We've partnered with UC Davis to develop curriculum to use the Linkbot to teach Math and Programming to high school and Middle School aged kids. If you’re an educator or a parent that would like to expose your child to robotics, the Linkbot is what you’ve been looking for. The Linkbot gives young people a physical representation of math and curriculum that can be touched, poked, and prodded, which is something you can’t get with just a computer screen.
News story on Linkbots in the Classroom:
Our Story . . .
We're a bunch of robot geeks with the goal of delivering an affordable and versatile robot to power the next generation of innovators!
We founded Barobo because we thought robots should be more affordable and accessible to users from a wide range of skill levels. We wanted to put awesome technology in the hands of enthusiasts while changing the way people and robots interact. Barobo received two grants from the National Science Foundation to move this vision forward. After developing numerous prototypes of our modular robotics system, I think we finally nailed it.
What are the Funds For
We've finished the research, design, and prototyping. We were even able to try out the Linkbot at a few Hacker Labs and schools in the community. They were extremely excited with the Linkbot and we would like to spread the Linkbot to as many people as possible. We are prepared for manufacturing and now we need enough support to enable mass production of our product. Please help bring the Linkbot to the world!
Risks and challenges
As with all kickstarters and large orders, there may be delays in order fulfillment and shipping. However, since we will be relying on Pride Industries who have decades of experience in manufacturing and logistics, we don’t foresee any serious issues on this front.
As with any physical product, the robot may break during usage. In order to provide a sufficiently tough product, we have drop-tested our robot numerous times, including dropping it out of a second story window directly onto concrete. While we don’t recommend this type of treatment of your robots, we are happy to report that our module did survive (the first attempt).
Because the battery is built into the module it's not easily accessible by end users. However, it is constantly monitored by a dedicated chip to protect the health of the battery and keep it in good working condition for years. If the battery dies completely the robot can still function off USB power alone.
Of all of our components, our Bluetooth and breakout boards are in the earliest stages of development. If rigorous testing reveals any critical bugs in the firmware or design of these components, it may affect the shipping date, however, we don't see any issues on this front and are currently making progress that we will share soon.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
There's a lot! The Linkbot comes packed with features and is mobile by itself. We also offer a Bluetooth Breakout board that lets you control the robot with our modes, like TiltDrive and CopyCat, from your mobile phone. Use our software to control and sense your world using our robot. We worked really hard to offer a large, stable hub with a standard thread pattern so you can attach anything to the outside of the robot. Don't throw away the box the robot comes in, build a tank!
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