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AU$ 2,120 pledged of AU$ 3,000 goal
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By Matthew Warren
AU$ 2,120 pledged of AU$ 3,000 goal
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About

We here at Pionics Robotics love the Raspberry Pi - and who wouldn’t? 

With the strength of a Linux desktop combined with a small form factor and low power requirements the Pi makes for a perfect robot brain.We have been experimenting with mobile platforms for this amazing micro computer for several years, with a focus on longevity and unique capabilities. Pionics Robotics proudly presents our first KickStarted robotics system - The PiVenture!

What exactly is a PiVenture?

In short, the PiVenture itself is a custom made acrylic chassis that is reinforced with metal brackets and standoffs, designed to interface with popular Raspberry Pi compatible accessories. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of this platform, we have created several reward levels ranging from the bare-bones chassis to a fully functional globe-trotting robot companion - designed by hobbyists, for hobbyists!

That does sound interesting… but what can it actually do?

Anything you want! But seriously, we have outfitted the PiVenture with a wide range of sensors to allow you to experience the world through your new robots eyes, a rechargeable speaker to communicate, a solar charging battery for long adventures and a range of minor accessories to make your PiVenture more versatile. 

 Alright, you have my attention. Tell me more. 

 No problem! Here's a quick rundown of the PiVenture components, and be sure to check out our Website and YouTube channel for further updates.

  • PiVenture Chassis: A custom designed acrylic and metal enclosure available in many colors, providing protection for your Raspberry Pi and simple mounts for additional components. The PiVenture "Vanguard" chassis also features a multi-size beverage trailer!
  • DC Motors: We have selected powerful 25D motors to allow your PiVenture to tackle difficult terrain, combined with a sturdy caster wheel for variable speed drive and on-the- spot rotation. 
  • Wheels/Tracks: Choose from thin tyres for smooth surfaces, thick tyres for roads or carpet and MXL tank tread wheels for rocky or sludgy terrain. 
  • Motor Controller: The PiVenture is designed to be compatible with multiple existing controllers; to demonstrate this we have modified a popular Pololu unit (The DRV8835) to directly accept header cables and a USB power source. Comes fully assembled. 
  • Solar USB Battery: If the Raspberry Pi is a robot brain, then these USB batteries were surely meant to be the heart! Lithium-Ion cells provide Dual 5V output to power Pi and Motors simultaneously, with plenty to spare to run all your sensors and an integrated super-bright LED for night driving. Recharge from any laptop or desktop USB port, or from the sun while out and about - Functions at full power for over 4 hours and much longer in standby mode. 
  • LEDs: While the USB Battery, Wi-Fi adaptor, Raspberry Pi and USB Sound Card all have their own status lights we wanted users to be able to directly control a proper LED. Each PiVenture will ship with two LEDs to choose from (one disco flash + one solid color) with custom resistor integrated header cables to directly connect via GPIO. 
  • Wi-Fi/Keyboard: Connect to your home or office Wi-Fi and access via web browser on multiple platforms and operating systems, or take your PiVenture outdoors and control via your compatible Smartphone (In AP mode!) or wireless keyboard. 
  • Ultrasonic Sensor: Active or passive range finding using sound waves for real-time distance measuring or autonomous driving mode. Standard and custom resistor integrated GPIO header cables included. 
  • Flip Sensor: A simple but effective suspended ball sensor, connects directly to GPIO and monitors if your PiVenture is still upright and ready to drive. 
  • Heat/Moisture Sensors: Monitor for heat signatures (people and pets) while indoors or keep a constant vigil for those pesky rain drops while outside. Both included however connect via one cable - can not be used simultaneously. 
  • USB Cameras: Lower resolution (8MP 320x240) than the official R-Pi cams, these hardy units require little power, are self contained and better suited to hazardous or low- signal environments. Stream or record video and take photos from 1 or two units mounted front and rear, or extend up to a meter from the main chassis for home surveillance. Optional sticky lenses to increase FOV included in “Vanguard” pack. 
  • Speaker: We believe all robots should be seen AND heard! These wonderful speakers deliver clear and vibrant audio for talking, singing or playing tunes - Powered by their own internal USB chargeable battery with control from an integrated volume/power switch. Connects via included USB soundcard rather than the 3.5mm R-Pi jack for superior quality. Want to connect your own sound system? No problem!
  • Programming: As a totally open-source project we are happy to release all of our code without restraint. The majority of our scripts will be python based, with integration for other projects such as eSpeak and MJPEG-Streamer. The PiVenture is recommended for use with our modified Raspian image which will be free to download from our website or comes pre-installed on our 8GB Class 10 SHDC Micro-SD cards.

Awesome! But it seems like you've got all this figured out – Do you actually need my KickStarter support?

Thanks! But trust us, we've got a long way still to go! You can see from our videos that the PiVenture works, but the team needs YOU to bring us from a single prototype to an armada of PiVenturers! Crowd funding allows us to connect directly with our future captains and we hope that together we can make this long-time dream a reality.

Alright, I’m in. Assuming the KickStarter is successful, what is the plan?

We're so glad you asked. We've split our project timeline into distinct phases as outlined below:  

PHASE 1: Order all confirmed components / Finalise chassis design (Aug-Sep 2015)  

PHASE 2: Code library construction / Finalise control interface (Sep-Oct 2015)  

PHASE 3: Custom parts assembly / PiVenture packaging (Oct-Nov 2015)  

PHASE 4: Shipping / Website rebuild (Nov 2015)  

PHASE 5: End of Kickstarter Project / Future Expansion! (Dec 2015)

Rewards! Show me the rewards!

PiVenture DIY Chassis Parts

  • The PiVenture acrylic chassis with metal brackets and standoffs
  • 25D motor mounts
  • Castor wheel

PiVenture DIY Chassis Parts + Motors + Tyres

  • "PiVenture DIY Chassis Parts" Reward
  • Wide voltage range 25D motors (3V - 24V)
  • Choice of thick or thin tyres (one set included)

PiVenture "Hello World" Starter Kit

  • "PiVenture DIY Chassis Parts + Motors + Tyres" Reward
  • Modified and assembled DRV8835 motor controller
  • Solar USB power pack
  • Ultrasonic sensor
  • Passive-infra-red heat sensor
  • USB sound card + rechargeable speaker
  • USB Wi-Fi adapter
  • USB 8MP Camera (internal - front facing)
  • 2 x GPIO LEDs + LED USB charge cable
  • All internal cabling included (HDMI cable may be desired for setup)

PiVenture "Hello World" R-Pi Starter Kit  (includes Raspberry Pi 2 B+)

  • "PiVenture "Hello World" Starter Kit" Reward
  • Raspberry Pi 2 B+
  • 8GB Class 10 MicroSD (with open source PV-Raspian image installed)
  • MicroSD card USB read/writer

PiVenture "Vanguard" R-Pi Complete Pack (includes Raspberry Pi 2 B+)

  • "PiVenture "Hello World" R-Pi Starter Kit (includes Raspberry Pi 2 B+)" Reward
  • Acrylic tri-wheel trailer with mounting bar (holds standard 250/375/500ml cans)
  • MXL Tank Wheels (in addition to chosen tyre wheels)
  • Raspberry Pi heat sink pack
  • 2x wide-angle USB camera lenses
  • Flip sensor
  • Moisture sensor (can not be used with heat sensor connected!)
  • USB 8MP Camera (external - rear facing, in addition to internal camera)
  • Choice of wireless keyboard or additional solar USB power pack

From the team here at Pionics Robotics we'd like to thank you for taking the time to read through all the above. This is our first KickStarter and we are confident that with our hard work and your generous support we can make the PiVenture a great success! While you are pondering our project, check out our development photos below 

Risks and challenges

We understand the commitment we are making by venturing out into the KickStarter community as a creator. Researching other successful (and failed) projects has given us valuable insight into what makes a great crowd-funding experience and while this may be our very first global attempt, rest assured we have been planning this for a long time and are in it for the long haul.

There will always be risks outside our control - We will try our very best to mitigate the impact of such unforseen issues and will always respond to the best of our abilities.

Besides the KickStarter itself, the team has spent many hours on the phone with more shipping and manufacturing representatives than we knew existed! We are confident in our ability to deliver to all areas available from the rewards section, and have selected backup suppliers for our components where possible.

We have deliberately set the lowest possible funding level to achieve a successful KickStarter - this amount of $3000 AUD ensures we can provide all stated rewards at their given costs, with a reserve for unforseen circumstances. We would love to see this project go above and beyond that amount, and we hope to announce a series of stretch goals for future expansion!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 2 or more About $1.48

    Pionics Supporter Reward
    (~$1.50 USD)

    You feel that this project is worthwhile, but aren't looking for a robot minion just this second. Your support will help to make the PiVenture Project a success and be noted on our acknowledgements page.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 10 or more About $7

    PiVenture Bumper Sticker Pack Reward
    (~$7.50 USD)

    Let everyone who tailgates you on the road know the truth with a "My other ride is a PiVenture!" and "Ultrasonic sensors report you are too damn close!" bumper sticker combo (free shipping)

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 30 or more About $22

    PiVenture T-Shirt Reward
    (~$25 USD)

    "Where Will Your PiVenture Take You?"

    Get our favorite question printed on a
    T-Shirt in various colors and sizes - we'll also throw in the bumper sticker combo!

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 99 or more About $73

    PiVenture DIY Chassis
    (~$75 USD)

    The titular PiVenture itself - Sturdy acrylic reinforced with metal brackets, available in many colors. Includes 25D motor mounts, various standoffs and a castor wheel.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 140 or more About $103

    PiVenture DIY Chassis + Motors + Wheels
    (~$100 USD)

    All the parts from the DIY Chassis plus two 25D motors (3V-24V) and two wheels (choose thin or thick tyres)

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 260 or more About $192

    PiVenture "Hello World" Starter Kit [No Pi 2]
    (~$190 US)

    The basic PiVenture package, just add Pi!
    - PiVenture Chassis
    - 2 x 25D Motors
    - 2 x Wheels (choice of thin or thick tyres)
    - Motor Controller
    - Solar USB Battery Pack
    - USB Camera
    - PIR Heat Sensor
    - Ultrasonic Sensor
    - LED Combo Pack
    - Rechargeable Speaker (with USB sound card)
    - USB Wi-Fi Adaptor
    - All Required Cabling (with choice of glowing or super-long charger)

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 320 or more About $236

    PiVenture "Hello World" Starter Kit [Inc. Pi 2]
    (~$230 USD)

    Everything you need to build a fully functional robot!
    - PiVenture "Hello World" Starter Kit
    - Raspberry Pi 2 B+
    - 8GB Micro SD Card
    - USB Micro SD R/W

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 380 or more About $281

    PiVenture "Vanguard" Complete Pack
    (~$275 USD)

    For the dedicated PiVenturer!
    - PiVenture "Hello World" Starter Kit [Inc. Pi 2]
    - Twin MXL Tank Track Wheels
    - Raspberry Pi Heat Sinks
    - Additional USB Camera
    - Moisture Sensor
    - Flip Sensor
    - Tri-Wheel Acrylic Trailer
    - 2 x Wide-Angle Camera Lenses
    - Choice of Wireless Keyboard or Additional Solar USB Battery Pack

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Funding period

- (30 days)