Share this project


Share this project

Playful immersion in advanced STEM. Teachable robots solve kid-built mazes with artificial intelligence. Supports 2 Hexbug Spiders.
Playful immersion in advanced STEM. Teachable robots solve kid-built mazes with artificial intelligence. Supports 2 Hexbug Spiders.
Playful immersion in advanced STEM. Teachable robots solve kid-built mazes with artificial intelligence. Supports 2 Hexbug Spiders.
391 backers pledged $33,762 to help bring this project to life.

Use this space to cheer the creator along, and talk to your fellow backers.

Have a question?

Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Missing avatar

      Edward McLaughlin 1 day ago

      Hi Brad,

      How did your luck hold out? Do you have a status on the project?


    2. Brian Cutler
      on September 7

      Looking forward to an update.

    3. Missing avatar

      Eddie T on September 3

      Hi Brad, any further news or updates? Has there been any other issues? Is progress going according to plan?
      We are looking forward to the outcome of the project.

    4. Missing avatar

      Maxime on August 27

      Hi everyone,

      Please continue posting updates for everyone. It's really nice to get some info frequently even if it's bad news and delays.


    5. Missing avatar

      Edward McLaughlin on August 25

      Thanks Brad. Dates aren't as important as your communication. As an engineer, I know your pain. I wish you luck on this campaign and hope you get no more unexpected surprises.

    6. Brad Knox Creator on August 22

      Hi, Edward. Thanks for checking in.

      We're still on schedule for a late September delivery.

      As I had been warned about hardware projects—even hardware-light ones like ours—we have had a surprise disappointment or two in getting the physical items we need from suppliers (e.g., that our IR blasters were no longer being manufactured, and we had to find a supplier with a bunch of them sitting in storage), but that merely used up a time buffer we had intentionally placed before shipping. We're still on pace as long as no further big surprises come.

    7. Missing avatar

      Edward McLaughlin on August 22

      Hi Brad! How are things going? We all still on schedule for delivery?

    8. Brad Knox Creator on August 2

      Thanks, Brian. The box is designed with a slanted top face. I don't have the exact measurements on me, but I think it's between 15 and 30 degrees from the table/counter surface. So the smart device's camera will almost point straight down, but it will be angled enough to look past the surface the box is on.

    9. Brian Cutler
      on August 2

      Great idea for the box. I would think straight down view is best but sounds like something just above horizontal works? Unless the box is 36" �

    10. Brad Knox Creator on July 10

      Update coming soon, indeed.

      In the videos, we generated robot behavior with a combination of remote control—which allows for scripted scenes that illustrate features succinctly—and 1 or 2 autonomous scenes. If you want to know what functionality was already implemented during the campaign, you can get a good idea from this Kickstarter Live demo I did:….

    11. Brian Cutler
      on July 3

      Update coming soon I hope. Always interested on how a project gets launched.

    12. Brian Cutler
      on June 11

      Great article. This appears to be a new concept in AI making more human in appearance. What is actually being used in the videos with the hexbots demonstrations since the project is still in development phase. Currently autonomus control of some sort or more human guided puppeteer control. Thanks

    13. Brad Knox Creator on June 9

      Hi, Brian. If you haven't checked it out, I recommend our article on Medium:

      The robots are controlled by a model of a human developer who puppeteered/teleoperated a robot in many different situations. The model can answer the question: "In context X, what is the probability that the teleoperator would have given command Y?"

      When a robot is acting based on the model, it is choosing what to do according to those probabilities, multiple times per second. So its behavior isn't random in the colloquial sense of the word—that it does every possible action with the same frequency—but it is random in the mathematical sense: the robot will often make different choices in the same situation, though those choices are still aligned with the frequency at which its model thinks the human developer would have made them in the current context.

      Regarding the robots' learning through your teaching, we'll be excited to share more about how that works once it's finalized and confirmed to work intuitively through user testing.

    14. Brian Cutler
      on June 6

      Brad - hope to generate some more discussion with the group. I think this is an amazing project, like having a little Mars rover controlled by the phone. Still curious on 2 things.
      1) Learning mode, your video mentions this too. Can you provide an update some day on what this does.
      2) Still like to understand running the same routine multiple times. Will the Hexbot run the same routine each time? If different their is decision processes in play, or just random - but that still seems like a decision to me.

      No rush, when you have time.

    15. Brad Knox Creator on June 5

      Hi, Brian. Thanks for your questions.

      • We have no definitive plans to make Bots Alive robots learn from all its experience, outside the explicit teaching sessions during which they will learn. We're interested in this direction long-term, but combining (a) the algorithms that learn in this way (e.g., reinforcement learning algorithms) with (b) the need for them to be enjoyable to interact with is, to my knowledge, an unsolved engineering challenge (by us or anyone).

      • I'd love to say we have the app complete 3 months ahead of time, but it's still in development and on schedule. ;)

    16. Brian Cutler
      on June 4

      I thought the group would be interested in your input. Does the Hexbot learn from its trials. If presented with the same obstacles multiple times, is the result random or does it improve its path? Also is the app complete at this time or in development? Thanks

    17. Brian Cutler
      on May 18

      Just checking in.....

    18. Brad Knox Creator on April 19

      Update sent. :)

    19. Brian Cutler
      on April 19

      Just checking back in on how things are going.

    20. Brad Knox Creator on March 7, 2017

      Brian and Andy, thanks!

      Brian, thanks for checking in. I plan to send an update soon. In general, I'll try to send them approximately once a month.

    21. Brian Cutler
      on March 7, 2017

      Close to an update? Hopefully Hexbots have not taken over the office.

    22. Missing avatar

      Andy Wright on February 17, 2017

      Congratulations and well done!

    23. Brian Cutler
      on February 16, 2017

      Congratulations. Good luck with the next phase of the project.

    24. Brad Knox Creator on February 15, 2017

      Some quick catch up.

      SilverAnvil, the Battle Spiders have different IR codes, so they won't work unless we take the time to sniff out their signals. We might do that, but we can't promise it at this point. Do check in with us though!

      Schaap, the add-on pack is 10 red obstacle blocks only.

      Brian, I think I sent you a private message about this, but thanks for pushing us past $30K a few days ago!!!

    25. Missing avatar

      Schaap on February 15, 2017

      Hi Brad,
      just a question from your latest backer..
      Does the add-on pack exists of red and blue or only red blocks?
      Good luck with the awaiting fathership!

    26. Missing avatar

      SilverAnvil on February 13, 2017

      Brad, did Amazon come through? If so, any luck with the Battle Spiders? I'm hoping that they use the same IR Channel for movement as the regular Spiders and the other two channel is for the "laser gun" LED.

    27. Brian Cutler
      on February 13, 2017

      OK, just added on another Hexbug to get you over $30K. Stretch goal is possible!

    28. Amy Tobol on February 10, 2017

      Thank you for your swift reply! Your faq says very little about Android versions. I hope you post more about the Android app before the project finishes!

    29. Brad Knox Creator on February 10, 2017

      Hi, Amy. Thanks for your interest! I hope your devices will be covered. I'm guessing they're relatively old though if they're running a 5-year old version of Android.

      Part of what we'll do in the next 7 months is optimizing our code; so while we know we can support recent devices, we won't know about older devices until later.

      Our FAQ at the bottom of the Campaign page says some more on the topic.

    30. Amy Tobol on February 10, 2017

      Hi! I have a pile of these hexbug spiders, including the large Nerf version, but my device runs Android 4.2. Should I support your kickstarter? Will I be able to use the app?

    31. Brad Knox Creator on February 9, 2017

      Hey, all. This doesn't seem quite worthy of an Kickstarter update, but my first child is due to be born in 7 days. So if I go AWOL at some unannounced time, there's a good chance she's arriving early. (!!) I hope you'll forgive my absence if that happens.

      I'll re-emerge within a few days, of course (as a proud father).

    32. Brad Knox Creator on February 9, 2017

      Hi, SilverAnvil. I love the idea of modding them. I'm guessing that the IR codes are different, since there are 4 IR channels on the Battle Spiders and 2 on the regular Spiders.

      I'm ordering one to test myself (arrives Saturday if Amazon can be trusted).

    33. Missing avatar

      SilverAnvil on February 8, 2017

      On Jan 25th someone asked about using Hexbug® Battle Spiders. You said no because "the top of the Battle Spider is too uneven for easy usage of the robot decals." I'm curious if that's the only problem or if the infrared controller can't talk to them.
      If it's just that their heads are to uneven, I might try modding them a bit - but if it's a problem with the controller then that's a different story.

    34. Brad Knox Creator on February 6, 2017

      Hi, David. We expect to support iOS 9. Please do check out our FAQ at the bottom of the "Campaign" page for more information about what devices will be supported.

    35. Missing avatar

      David Cannon on February 2, 2017

      Hi Brad Knox, I have several old iPhones and iPads devices which are max out at iOS 9 (or earlier) -- no longer support for iOS upgrades. I was wondering if you can make sure the iOS app will support older iOS 9 or earlier so that I can give my 6 and 8 year older to use.

    36. Brad Knox Creator on February 1, 2017

      Hi, Matthew. Thanks for asking. They do work well on carpet.

      Check out some of the videos on our YouTube playlist to see for yourself:…. You'll have to skip through videos with no carpet though.

    37. Matthew
      on February 1, 2017

      Do the spiders move ok on carpet? Or do they have to be on a hard smooth surface?

    38. Brian Cutler
      on January 31, 2017

      got the word out on Bots_alive on another tech type project.…

    39. Brad Knox Creator on January 30, 2017

      Thanks, Brian. Good idea. I'll try to do that next time.

    40. Brian Cutler
      on January 30, 2017

      Great live feed today. It is really unique to engage with creator directly. Just happened to find it while taking checking at lunch. Kickstarter live is something I had not see before. Will need to check out other projects. If you post in advance as an update then all the current supporters would get a heads up.

    41. Brad Knox Creator on January 28, 2017

      Hi, Jean. Thanks for pledging!

      The option you're referring to is the 2 BOTS_ALIVE DOUBLE BOT KITS, which is two complete sets of two Hexbug Spiders and the bots_alive smartphone kit.

      The four Spiders could not all be used together, controlled by the same smartphone, because they only have two infrared control channels. Instead, the usage I imagine for 2 BOTS_ALIVE DOUBLE BOT KITS is that two different people would each have one of the kits and two of the robots. So if you wanted one BOTS_ALIVE DOUBLE BOT KIT for yourself and one to give as a gift, that would be a good reason to get the 2 BOTS_ALIVE DOUBLE BOT KITS tier.

    42. Brad Knox Creator on January 28, 2017

      Thanks, jdaiglejr. Check out our FAQ, which has the answer to your question.

      The short answer is that we do not currently plan to open up the software for programming, but we'll be listening to our supporters to figure out what we should do next with this technology. One of numerous options is to support programming in some way.

    43. Jean Lou Castonguay Dionne on January 27, 2017

      Hi. I am very intrigued by this project and robotic in general. I do have a question though. I choose a pledge with 4 bots in there (the one at 168$) but this has written that it comes with the possibility to make 2 bots come alive. I am not sure what is the point of having 4 bots? Am I missing something?

    44. Missing avatar

      jdaiglejr on January 27, 2017

      Hi! Great little project. Another question: can we alter the programming code ourselves to "play" with the AI, or with the way the augmented reality works?

    45. Brad Knox Creator on January 27, 2017

      Hi, Jamie. Yes!

      Recent iOS and Android tablets should be supported. Please check the FAQ at the bottom of the Kickstarter page for more detail.

    46. Jamie Benson-Zierfus
      on January 27, 2017

      Can a tablet be used instead of a smartphone?

    47. Brad Knox Creator on January 26, 2017

      Brian, I'd be happy to oblige. Do you mean a different link than the one for the campaign? (

    48. Brian Cutler
      on January 26, 2017

      Can you provide a link to share on facebook? I have seen other projects do this.

    49. Brad Knox Creator on January 26, 2017

      Hi, Eric. It's wonderful to hear you're interested in the underlying AI. Check out my Medium post here for much more info:

    50. Eric on January 26, 2017

      I'm dying to know more about this behavior you've come up with. Will there be a white paper or any further information provided on the workings of it in the future?

Show older comments