Build your own robots with MOSS! Simple, fun, magnetic robot construction kits. No coding, no wires, oodles of configurations! Read more
This project was successfully funded on December 11, 2013.
About this project
Thank you Kickstarter for all your support! We’ve over-funded by a good margin and are psyched to begin production of MOSS. Since this page is locked after the campaign closes, you can learn more about MOSS and our progress at http://www.modrobotics.com.
If you missed your chance to pre-order MOSS on Kickstarter, add your email to the list on modrobotics.com/moss and soon you'll be able to get in on the next round to reserve your own MOSS robotics system!
What is MOSS?
MOSS is a brand new robot construction system from Modular Robotics. It was designed, prototyped and engineered over the last two and a half years. Building with MOSS is incredibly fun and easy thanks to an intuitive, magnetic construction system.
With MOSS there is no need for coding or wiring your construction. The power and data are sent through an elegant single button contact, while the ground passes through the steel spheres.
MOSS uses over-molded neodymium, "rare earth," magnets and carbon steel ball bearings to build a wide variety of constructions. The tactile click of building with MOSS is enough to keep you entertained for hours.
How does MOSS work?
It's easy to snap MOSS modules together to make a static structure, but to make things move and light up, you'll need to understand the color coding system for the individual faces. Keep in mind that production MOSS kits will be different colors from the versions shown here. We'll use these versions for this example, though, since we're surrounded by the pretty colors.
Yellow faces conduct power. If you look at the BATTERY module, you'll see that it has only yellow faces; this module's main purpose is to supply power to other modules. To power up a MOSS module like a SPIN, for instance, you'll need to connect one of its yellow faces directly or indirectly to one of the yellow faces on a BATTERY module. Blue and green faces conduct data: blue is data output and green is input. If you want a DISTANCE sensor to control the speed of a SPIN, for instance, you'll need to connect the DISTANCE's blue data out to the SPIN's green data input. Get it? There's only one more face, the pink passthrough face, which can pass any signal, either power or data. If your BATTERY is a few modules away from something you need to power, use the pink faces on a FLEXIBLE module (or a few single cubes in series) to transfer the power.
What is included?
Stretch Goal One Unlocked!
Our first stretch goal has been unlocked! Visit MOSS update #3 for details!
Stretch Goal Two Unlocked!
We've hit $304k, so we'll ship all T-shirts out in December instead of waiting to ship them with your MOSS kits on February 2014. USA backers, we're aiming to send your shirts just in time for Christmas! Our goal is to get them to you in time to have them wrapped and under the tree. International backers, we will be sending your shirts out in December, but given the wide geographic spread of backers we can't guarantee pre-Christmas delivery of your shirt. Thank you for your continued support of Modular Robotics and MOSS!
Stretch Goal Three Announced:
We're pleasantly surprised about all of the inquiries we've received about programming MOSS. Clearly, you want the ability to program your MOSS robots however you like! If we hit $564,000, we'll be able to fast-track the development of two tools for MOSS programming: MOSS Flash, which will let you write low-level C programs and flash them via Bluetooth into your MOSS modules, and MOSS Scratch, an integration with Scratch, the popular and easy-to-use block programming system. Eric wrote a blog post with some more details on these new plans.
MOSS Design Process
Work on MOSS began in 2010 as a research project funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the ASEE. Since then, we've been working to turn MOSS from a concept to a production ready robotics kit.
MOSS started with sketches, ideas, and thousands of prototypes. The original concept used 3D printed frames, laser cut faces, copper connections and hand strung wire. Over thousands and thousands of hours in development, the various product concepts became the prototypes you see now.
Over that time, while we were producing and selling Cubelets, we learned all about injection molding, over-molding magnets, metal stamping, and the other mass-production manufacturing processes needed to make MOSS on a commercial scale. One big challenge was getting enough magnetic holding force between blocks so people could build large constructions. We solved this with custom rare-earth magnets that have a concave face for maximum contact with the steel spheres.
The plastic shells for MOSS were designed to snap together with appropriate draft angles for injection molding. The magnets were over-molded into the plastic shells in order to eliminate any chance of them coming out. Now that we've got the designs dialed, we're excited to share our work with you.
MOSS Production Plan
The prototypes you see in the video represent "T2" plastics construction. We are tweaking the last few details before we order production ready plastics from our suppliers. Other parts like the microcontrollers and circuit boards are already on order. We expect Modular Robotics will receive final MOSS production ready components in mid-December 2013. Our supply chain manager has toured our plastics and battery suppliers and verified that everything is proceeding according to plan. Production and assembly are scheduled to start near the holidays, continuing through January and beyond!
All MOSS modules will be hand assembled in our robot factory in Boulder, CO. It's uncommon to build toys or consumer electronics in the USA, let alone in Boulder. But fundamentally, we believe that by making our robots ourselves is the right thing to do. It's fun, too, especially since we get to build robots to help us build robots. Here's how we assemble circuit boards. Just like our previous product, Cubelets, we're building everything ourselves so that we can ensure high quality and adapt quickly to changing conditions. Every assembly step of every MOSS module will be tested as it progresses through our factory
Orders for each kit type will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis. So the sooner you support our campaign, the sooner you can start playing with MOSS! We are going to start shipping kits as soon as we have modules, packaging and instruction booklets ready.
One note on color... The robots shown here are all prototypes. Production MOSS will have better tolerance, fit, and finish. But we haven't chosen the colors yet! We may pick a color scheme that you hate, which is a risk. Currently we really like this one, but it's not final.
Risks and challenges
We have our own factory in Boulder, CO where we've been building Cubelets for a couple of years. We're starting to get really good at building robots, but unforeseen circumstances can always cause delays. We've purchased parts that were destroyed at customs (http://www.modrobotics.com/blog/…) and that arrived with defects (http://www.modrobotics.com/blog/…). Since then, though, we've put lots more quality control processes in place and tightened up our supply chain.
We haven't sent MOSS kits to a nationally recognized testing lab for safety testing yet, and unanticipated problems may cause delays. But we know the toy safety standards in and out (http://www.modrobotics.com/blog/…) and have designed everything so that we're confident we'll easily pass ASTM, FCC, RoHS, and CE certification.
There is no risk that we won't produce MOSS. We're a forty person company, we have money in the bank, and we've already made (and paid for) the tooling to make all of the different parts. We know how to work with vendors, produce high quality toys, and fulfill orders.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes. We release all of our apps on both platforms. Some might make it out on one platform a little sooner than the other, but we develop for both in tandem.
If the campaign hits its third stretch goal of $564k, we'll be fast tracking the launch of two apps for programming MOSS robots: MOSS Flash and MOSS Scratch. Eric wrote a blog post with details: http://www.modrobotics.com/blog/…
You're right, cubes have six faces. The MOSS Bluetooth Module is a double-length cube, or a 2x1x1 unit, and those have ten faces. One is taken up by the Bluetooth-specific face and status LED, another is taken up by a power face, and that leaves 8 data faces on the module. There's one read/write slider for each of these faces.
MOSS is labeled for 8 years old and up.
Good question. When you snap MOSS modules together, you're not only building the physical body of the robot, but you're also building its behavior. Connecting sensors to actuators in novel ways will equip your robot with interesting reactive behaviors that can appear surprisingly intentional.
If you really want to write computer programs for your MOSS creation, you'll be able to do that too. Details on programming here: http://www.modrobotics.com/blog/…
Can I buy the custom parts in the Shogun Tank kit (like the Shooty module) individually or in another kit?
A MOSS Bluetooth module and some steel spheres.
A MOSS Light Sensor module, Knob module, Long Flex Connector, steel spheres, and a Support Brace.
Pledge $1 or more
Your name will be lovingly handwritten on our Backer Wall. Everyone who supports our campaign will have their name added to the lobby at Modular Robotics HQ!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or more
MOSS T-SHIRT: Hey there hot stuff! You'll look fantastic in this comfy, organic cotton t-shirt designed by Modular Robotics. It features a technical drawing of the MOSS Angle module and looks as good as it feels... which is awesome.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $59 or more
SIMPLE STARTER KIT: Build your own light-loving robot! You can build a cute little critter that will orient itself toward a flashlight in a dark room. In addition you can build other fun robots that spin and wobble in the coolest ways. This kit is a great place to start. Over time you can add more pieces for more robots. Plus, get your name on our Backer Wall!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $99 or more
BASIC BUILDER KIT: Build a distance-sensing robot motorcycle! The Basic Builder is the best way to start playing with robots. This kit includes two spin modules so you can create simple robot critters that scoot and drive. Control your creation with an infrared distance sensor! When you back on Kickstarter you'll save $50 off the projected retail price! Plus, get a T-shirt and your name on our backer wall!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $299 or more
SHOGUN TANK BY HUCK GEE: Be one of the first to own this exclusive Huck Gee designed robot tank! The Shogun Tank comes with everything you need to build one awesome bluetooth-controlled tank. It is designed to accurately fire a foam dart up to 3 meters! Infused with Huck's Skull Kid style this kit is a great way to add some flair to your MOSS collection. Plus, get a T-shirt and your name on our backer wall!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $339 or more
199 backers Limited (1 left of 200)
EARLY BIRD ADVANCED BUILDER KIT: Get it early and save! Go beyond the simple builder kits and unlock the creative possibilities! Build your own bluetooth controlled car, interactive crane, sound responsive robot, and so much more! The Advanced Builder Kit is the ultimate MOSS building experience. Plus, get a T-shirt and your name on our backer wall!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $379 or more
ADVANCED BUILDER KIT: Go beyond the simple builder kits and unlock the creative possibilities! Build your own bluetooth controlled car, interactive crane, sound responsive robot, and so much more! The Advanced Builder Kit is the ultimate MOSS building experience. Plus, get a T-shirt and your name on our backer wall!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $629 or more
BIG BUNDLE: Double up on the MOSS fun and get the Advanced Builder and Shogun Tank by Huck Gee for $69 off the projected retail price. This bundle allows you to build multiple bluetooth controlled robots and includes pieces with Huck Gee's design. Maximize your building potential and get this kit! Plus, get a T-shirt and your name on our backer wall!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $949 or more
MEGA BUNDLE: Quadruple the play experience with 2 Basic Builder Kits, and 2 Advanced Builder Kits for $147 off the projected retail price. This bundle is the clear choice for families, educators or after-school programs to outfit a group of robot-builders. With this variety of modules, four individuals can play and create at once! Plus, get 4 T-shirts and your name on our backer wall!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $5,000 or more
2 backers Limited (1 left of 3)
VISIT MODULAR ROBOTICS FOR THE DAY: Spend a day at Modular Robotics in Boulder, CO! You'll meet our team, tour our robot factory, and enjoy dinner with the CEO and directors. We'll fly you out and put you up in a hotel in historic Downtown Boulder. You'll get to see our latest creations, discuss ideas for future products, app development, and play with buckets of MOSS modules. You’ll also receive everything in the BIG BUNDLE to take home with you. Domestic travel within the US is covered for one (1) person only. You are welcome to bring up to two guests (so bring your kids!), or fly internationally, but you will need to cover any additional travel expenses.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
- (34 days)