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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.

Acquisition by Dash Robotics, makers of Kamigami

Posted by Brad Knox (Creator)

Hi, everyone. I've got some big news to share. We've been acquired by fellow Kickstarter campaigner Dash Robotics

After running two successful crowdfunding campaigns (first, second), Dash partnered with Mattel to bring its research-inspired origami robots, Kamigami, to the mass market. Their buildable bots in the video below can be found in Target, in Toys R Us, on Amazon, and elsewhere.

The Bots Alive software platform will provide inexpensive autonomy, intelligence, and teachability to connected toys Dash builds with its partners. You can read more about what the acquisition means here in IEEE Spectrum and in our press release.

How does this affect our shipping schedule? Very little if at all. Our business lead Brendan McKenna is focused exclusively on getting replacement IR blasters, and he and I have a few possibilities in the pipeline for consideration and are immediately waiting on shipping or other parties to get back to us.

Thanks for reading!
Brad and the Bots Alive team

P.S. If anyone is looking for a hire with sales, engineering, and operations expertise, I can't recommend my Bot Alive business partner Brendan McKenna highly enough. He'll be a huge difference-maker for whatever team works with him next. He's a Boston-area native living in Austin and looking for his next step in either city.

bryan Ribas, Dan Healy, and 3 more people like this update.


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    1. Brad Knox Creator on

      We expect to have an update on the shipping date in the next week. (It may not be a hard date though, but we'll do what we can to as specific about the future as we confidently can be.)

    2. Missing avatar

      Edward McLaughlin on

      Thanks for the follow up Brad. I hope you will consider giving backers a choice of delivery without the IR blasters if it comes to the only thing left being a refund. I am sure I am not the only engineer and DIYer out here and still would be interested in seeing all the hard work you put into the product. Don't get me wrong, I sincerely hope one of your remaining options is successful. I just don't want this effort going to waste!

    3. Platypus Industries on

      That’s quiet a vague response to the question. Judging by the circumstances as they have been told to us I am highly sceptical of a Xmas arrival. Please clarify as I (and I’m sure a few others) were expecting to hand these over as gifts for the festive season. A more detail timeline would be appreciated.

    4. Brad Knox Creator on

      Hi, Matthew. There's still a good chance. We're definitely hoping to have them in your hands by Christmas.

    5. Brad Knox Creator on

      Hi, Edward and Tim. Thanks for asking for clarification. I'm sure you're not the only ones who have questions.

      In short: this news does not change the deliverables at all.

      We are planning to ship exactly what we promised, Hexbug Spiders and all. The only foreseeable reason for not delivering is if we can't source workable IR blasters.

      To elaborate on our current pipeline for getting the last hardware piece needed to ship: We're talking to the manufacturers of the discontinued Kiwik IR blaster about doing one more run, which may or may not pan out. We also have a couple of alternatives (these: arriving tomorrow. They're USB-based, however, and I don't yet know whether we'll be able to obtain or reverse engineer their USB protocol to allow our app to control the Spiders with them, but I'm still optimistic. There is one other potential option I'm aware of if those two fail.

      I deeply appreciate that our backers have been patient so far with our delay. I imagine the uncertainty and waiting can be trying. I wish I could give a firm ETA for the kits and robots, but we still need to find and obtain workable IR blasters, which is a search process that ends only when we find a solution.

      If we ultimately can't ship, we will refund everyone's money. That would be immensely disappointing for me and everyone else who has worked on Bots Alive, and we'd be letting all of you backers down. I see it as the very last option.

      In a recent update, I mentioned that these hardware delays have given me more time to improve the software fundamentals that this Bots Alive Kickstarter product is built on. We'll be using the same Bots Alive codebase at Dash, and working with Dash is actually freeing me up from many of the hundred hats I was wearing as a startup founder. That is allowing me to do more engineering, much of which pushes forward those fundamentals that will make our shipped robots to all of you even better (e.g., computer vision that's more robust to lighting changes and that allows the robots to have faster reaction times).

      Please don't hesitate to ask any further questions.

    6. Platypus Industries on

      Is there still any chance of delivery before Xmas this year?

    7. Missing avatar

      Tim Hutman on

      So when can I contemplate delivery??

    8. Missing avatar

      Edward McLaughlin on

      Hi Brad,

      We will be getting the original campaign spiders with your software, right? This acquisition won't change deliverables, correct? I understand why the timeline is extended. No problem with that. (Shit Happens). I am not interested in the KamiGami hardware at this time and really liked your original offer. Could you clarify what is going on? I always appreciated your communication Sir. This news is just a little disturbing. It may be just me.