Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 30, 2012.

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BERO - A 4" multi-motor animated mobile robot with sound for being controlled by an Open Source Android / iOS APP via Bluetooth.

It's Official! BERO will now born!

A big thanks to all of our backers from around the world for your support during our 33 day Be The Robot on Kickstarter. Our success is a direct result of your support and assistance in spreading the word and backing us. We couldn't have done this without you! Together we have taken BERO from a concept to reality and soon into production and we can't wait to get BERO in your hands.

If you didn't have a chance to get BERO during our Kickstarter campaign, you can visit our website BeTheRobot.com for details. You can also track the progress of BERO at our Facebook, Youtube and Twitter sites.

Thanks again for your support!

TEAM BERO

The Be The Robot Project for Android and newly added iOS (Bluetooth enabled iPhone, iPod, iPad)!

Thank you for swinging by!

Reality Robotics Limited proudly presents the Be the Robot™ Project!

What is the Be the Robot™ project you may ask?

It is an expertly-engineered-multi-motor-wireless-animated-mobile-robotic-toy-platform that features an advanced internal operating system for communicating through an open source APP with an Android /  iOSsmart device through Bluetooth™.

Wheew.... That's a mouthful!

After digesting all that, we thought we would we would summarize our awesome robot as “BERO” (pronounced, Bē-Rō), a nickname for our Be The Robot™Project. What better companion could there be for your smart phone?

BERO is the Ultimate Bluetooth Companion!

Our initial inspiration came from the Google Bug Droid, from the initial 3D to the prototype.

Here is a link to our first Kickstarter Video about our initial motivation behind the project:

This is our design sketch of BERO, a 3D render and an inside peek of our prototype!

But you’re thinking, what is actually included in this expertly engineered 4” BERO that is being marketed as the Ultimate Bluetooth Companion?

Well…it depends on the funding level. Here's the list (Now focus!):

BERO BASIC

A four inch Be The Robot™ MATTE FINISH WHITE plastic shell with no motors and no electronics. Perfect for a desk accessory that shows your support!

BERO BLUETOOTH

  • A four inch Be The Robot™ made from high quality plastic MATTE FINISH BLUE TRANSPARENT shell, loaded with:
  • 2 micro gearbox motors including:
    • Left track motion drive for moving around
    • Right track motion drive for moving around
    • 2 LEDs for the eyes (its gotta have personality)
    • onboard 500mAh LiPo rechargeable battery (you gotta store food)
    • mini USB port for recharging the onboard LiPo battery (you gotta eat!)
    • ON/OFF Switch (go to sleep!)
    • Smart device Bluetooth 115kpbs connectivity for full control of BERO (heck…who doesn’t wanna be mobile?)
    • Onboard advanced system on a chip (SOC) with updateable firmware, and updates, stored in onboard FLASH memory for taking care of low level program routines (kinda like DOS)
    • Downloadable FREE Open Source iOS/Android™ APP (to get you warmed up on how to drive BERO crazy) for communicating with the onboard SOC through Bluetooth™
    • SPI interface port connected with the SOC for Arduino™ hacking (if hackin is your thing)
    • Access to our State of the art online community to communicate, create, interact, assist and trade your Be The Robot™ Project desires, experiences and to download continuously improving Android™ open source  routines (its gotta be educational too!)
    • SD Card slot for program low level program routine updates and for storing motion tables and program instructions (SD card included!)
    • Onboard speaker for sound file playback from SD card
    • Shipping Box and WORLDWIDE FREE Shipping+ Handling

BERO BACKER

  • Everything that we described for the BERO BLUETOOTH but with high quality plastic MATTE FINISH WHITE shell, loaded with:
  • Additional 3 micro gearbox motors (five in total), including:
    • Left arm with analog position sensor (hey!)
    • Right arm with analog position sensor (high five!)
    • Head turning left and right with analog position sensor (BERO says No!)
    • FREE WORLDWIDE Shipping+ Handling

BERO BASSHEAD

  • Everything that we described for the BERO BLUETOOTH but with high quality plastic MATTE FINISH BLACK / PINK shell, loaded with:
  • Additional 3 micro gearbox motors (five in total), including:
    • Left arm with analog position sensor (hey!)
    • Right arm with analog position sensor (high five!)
    • Head turning left and right with analog position sensor (BERO says No!)
    • Total 6 LEDs for the eyes so it can have Knight Rider inspired scrolling lights
    • 2 LEDs for the headphones so they can light up to music!
    • FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER Shipping+ Handling
MATTE FINISH PINK SHELL
MATTE FINISH PINK SHELL

Light up headphones on BERO BASSHEAD!

BERO BLING SILVER LIMITED EDITION

Everything that we described for the BERO BACKER but with high quality SHINY SILVER CHROME LIMITED EDITION shell*, loaded with:

  • Additional 1 micro gearbox motors (six in total), including:
    • Waist motor for side to side motion (for some great dance moves!)
    • Infrared optical navigation system, whereby BERO can autonomously navigate and “see” obstacles! (will help in BERO not bumping into some things)
    • 6 LEDs for the Knight Rider inspired scrolling eyes (its gotta have personality)
    • 2 LEDs for the headphones so they can light up to music!
    • FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER Shipping+Handling

*Why is this a limited edition? Well…we will really polish the molds for this one to make them nice and shiny before we inject the BERO BLING plastic shell to make sure they look great with the chrome finish. Then we will apply a matt finishing onto the molds and can no longer produce the nice shiny shell.

BERO BLING BONUS – an edited video of the birth of BERO! See as BERO grows from initial concept, software development, to engineering samples, to the production and final shipping of BERO to you. See how BERO was made and how with your support you made it happen. An early download link will be sent to you once the video has been edited!

BERO BLING GOLD PLATED LIMITED EDITION

Everything that we described for the BERO BACKER but with SHINY REAL GOLD PLATED LIMITED EDITION shell*, loaded with

  • Additional 1 micro gearbox motors (six in total), including:
    • Waist for side to side motion (for some great dance moves!)
    • Infrared optical navigation system, whereby BERO can autonomously navigate and “see” obstacles! (will help in BERO not bumping into some things)
    • 6 LEDs for the Knight Rider inspired scrolling eyes (its gotta have personality)
    • 2 LEDs for the headphones so they can light up to music!
    • FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER Shipping+Handling

*Why is this a limited edition? Well…we will really polish the molds for this one to make them nice and shiny before we inject the BERO BLING plastic shell to make sure they look great with the gold plated finish. Then we will apply a matt finishing onto the molds and can no longer produce the nice shiny shell.

BERO BLING BONUS – an edited video of the birth of BERO! See as BERO grows from initial concept, software development, to engineering samples, to the production and final shipping of BERO to you. See how BERO was made and how with your support you made it happen. An early download link will be sent to you once the video has been edited!

Check out BERO with the 6LED scrolling eyes.


Suffice it to say, if you are a robot enthusiast, you are on the edge of your seat by now.

How does BERO make sounds?

The SD card stores WAV audio files that are downloaded from your computer. The BERO firmware and SOC controls the playback of those sound files through an onboard speaker and amplifier. Its actually pretty loud! (We will later support low bit rate MP3...more on that below)

And why the light up headphones?

Well…it’s the icing on the cake. BERO has headphones, so why not use them for something other than looks. Why not make them light up to the beat!

What’s the FREE iOS/Android™ APP for?

We were thinking that its cool to have BERO programmable and to have an Open Source spin on the product. That way you can really customize it on the smart phone (if you want) and make it respond to your commands, such as make it move and dance around while playing back some tunes! Feel free to change the APP software routines and get creative with the open source aspect. Below is a pic of our starting iOS APP that we just got working with BERO yesterday (Sept 17th. 2012). The APP was written in a day. We already have most of the functions working in Android and will be adding them into the iOS APP as we speak.

In a nutshell, BERO is a good listener, but not much of a communicator, although he gets in his two cents here and there. Through the Open Source APP, BERO is continuously controllable where all the motion and control scripts are provided for BERO by the iOS/Android smart device and APP. Occasionally, BERO communicates back to the smart device and will advise of things like, “Hey I’m Hungry” (ie..I need a recharge)

Interactive visual APP design for controlling BEROs motions
Interactive visual APP design for controlling BEROs motions

Initially, we will be providing routines for the communication and control between BERO and the smart device; thereafter, through our online community, these routines will be further developed, expanded and shared. So as the community grows, so will the number of things that BERO will be able to do.

The other cool thing is that the motion routines are written in an easy to understand English language. This makes the routines easy to edit and easy to make BERO perform. The motion routines are scripted in the form of .CSV files that provide a lookup table where they allow for triggering of motion for up to six motors as well as play back of sound files and LED lights control. These routines can either be streamed over Bluetooth™ from the smart device or read from the internal SD card. We can make this as fun as we want! Putting in the heavy lifting into the phone allows the creativity to flow. The motion routines are formed from many command strings that are sent to BERO a few times each second for real-time control.

Not to mention that that command strings can also be sent over Twitter to make BERO react to condensed URLs, such as www.bero.co/example  where "example" will be randomly generated and at each of these URLs will be a motion routine CSV file that will allow for BERO to move, control the LEDs as well as to playback sound files. The smart device and APP will read the data in the motion routines and stream them over Bluetooth to BERO, or they can be saved onto the SD card.

More on this in the Twitter section below! At this moment, the link above doesn’t yet have any motion routines.

What's the record motion+sound feature all about?

Its like being your own puppet master. Speak into the Bluetooth smart device, record your voice, put some animations using the smart device controller. The smart device processes the sound and motion data, sends it to BERO and BERO then plays it back from the SD card on its own internal speaker. A great way to send someone a Birthday Message!

What’s under the hood?

Below are a couple pics showing you what the PCB layout will look like and what components we are using. In a nutshell, the system on a chip (SOC) handles the routines for the Bluetooth module (115kpbs), SD card, sound file playback, the variable resistors and the motor driver (800mAh per channel) via the on board updateable firmware. Through the SOC, the four motors with variable resistors  (arms, head and waist) act as servos and WAV sound files are effortlessly played back for smooth sound, lights and motion animations! We thought about using an Atmel IC for this in the beginning to run Arduino, but this IC had a lot more bang for the buck and does what the Arduino can’t handle. So, through the SPI port, the SOC can easily be hacked and controlled by adding an Arduino, just like a jockey riding a horse.

How does BERO drive around?

Initially, we looked at giving it some wheels, but then it would “be just like everyone else” so why not make it cool and give it tank style caterpillar tracks. Sweet!

How does BERO navigate around  by itself and avoid obstacles?

BERO features an  an infrared optical navigation system. In order to make this work, two infrared transmitters (TX1 and TX2)  and one infrared receiver (RX) are utilized so that BERO can detect obstacles to its left and to its right and directly in front of it! This allows BERO to not bump into things when this feature is enabled. The detection range is about 3” to 5”.

How is BERO “expertly” engineered?

Above all, we engineered BERO to be hackable! Each gearbox is self contained, can be removed and your gears won’t fall all over the place. We also made it “just the right size” (not too small) so that it is easy to modify and for you to put in you own hardware or other stuff inside. Cramming in 6 motors (where 4 of them act as servos) wasn’t too easy in such a small package. But we made it all fit into a massive 4 inches. See here in the video about our tooling check model for which we have already started the production molds.

In this case, with BERO the intensive processing is offloaded to the smart device. Let the smart device handle the tough calculations so that BERO can do its thing! Not to mention, having the onboard FLASH memory in BERO allows for the firmware to be updated so that BERO always has the latest low level routines, which like a good wine, get better with time.

As we obtain feedback from our fans, we will implement changes into the firmware as BERO evolves and provide them as downloads. 

What else will BERO be able to do?

BERO is really an extension of your smart device as the Ultimate Bluetooth Companion for iOS and Android. Here are some of the other features we will be implementing down the road into BERO firmware and into the smart device APP updates:

BERO and TWITTER

 ·      BERO will be able to process Twitter™ feeds received by the smart device for being able to react to condensed URL motion data pointed to by www.bero.com/example (“example” is used as an example and is really any alphanumeric text string that points to a unique page for containing the animation data). This condensed URL will contain the motion and sound data for the smart device to process and send to BERO. Not to mention, BERO will also be able to read out Twitter feeds as text to speech (will require firmware updates as well as work on the APP side). Imagine having BERO dancing and speaking on your desk. How fun is that?

BERO and Bluetooth Speaker

 ·        The internal speaker on BERO will also be able to function as a  Bluetooth™ speaker, so music can be streamed from the smart device and played out of BERO.  Because of the added motion data being streamed at the same time, the music will be at 8bit ADPCM quality. But that’s not so bad when toy quality sounds and effects are desired for adding personality to animation.

BERO and Dancing

·       Improved dance and motion routines to respond to sound and music.We are working on more elaborate music processing routines in the smart device to create dance moves for BERO.

BERO and Hacking

·       SPI interface port firmware routines for added hackability to an Arduino or other IC can be used to directly talk to the system on a chip to command BERO without the use of a smart device.

BERO and other Routines

We will also as an update include a puppet mode routine so that you can move BEROs limbs around and have their position recorded to the smart device APP for later playback. That beats programming in our mind by a hundred yards!

We are looking to implement with the smart device APP is a voice recording feature. So that a sound file or voice can be sent from the Android™ smart device and be stored on the BERO SD card for later playback on the BERO speaker. Currently BERO plays back WAV files, but low data rate MP3 will be supported at a later date.

BERO will also have the option of being controllable via the internet....so your friends can animate your BERO from a half a world away!

Maybe even apply a pitch shift to the voice track so that BERO speaks in various tones. Through full control of BERO motions this will allow the ability to synchronize the motions of BERO to music. Also, you could download some sound files for later playback. Perhaps even control the actions of BERO using smart device macros… while keeping a comfortable distance from BERO, if he goes crazy, since its all happening wirelessly. No more embedded programming is required (unless you want to hack things). The possibilities are endless as BERO can do many things that the smart device tells it to do as the Ultimate Bluetooth Companion!

What you gonna get when you back us?

It all depends on which BERO is right for you. It will be shipped first class registered airmail domestic/international, or courier as indicated, and packaged for safe transport. Shipping + Handling is included in all funding levels!

When you gonna get BERO?

It is expected that the first BERO units (starting with the limited editions) will be shipping as indicated in late November 2012 and the balance in early December 2012 (just in time for Christmas).

We will be starting the production molds first week of September and they take 35 days to complete. The initial PCB layout has been completed and now we are in the process of finalizing the production PCB. We have anticipated our vendors long lead times and these components have had purchase orders already placed. A big bonus for us is not having to tool our own gearboxes and gears! This saves a lot of time. Additionally, our capacity is about 500 to 800 BEROs per day.

We will be keeping you in the loop about the progress as part of our BERO Open Source promise! Luckily for us, because we have done similar projects (such as Desk Pets items) we have a quick production turnaround time and thoroughly understand production lead times. Additionally, because Michael is based in Hong Kong, The Be The Robot™ Project follow up is easy!

What is the money going towards?

In a project of this complexity, there are many fixed costs that need to be settled before it can be produced. Just to let you in on a few of them: plastic injection molding costs, motors and gearboxes, PCB and of course we need to order the electronic components for the PCB. Additionally the money will also be put towards the APP development for both Android and iOS. For things like the tooling and long lead time electronic components, deposits on orders have already been made to speed things up for delivery.

Why back us?

So here is where you come in, and we need your help! Designing, engineering and producing innovative products is what we aim to do! Unfortunately, we are small fish in a big pond. Having deep pockets for funding manufacturing and for retail sales is a whole other story.

So, we felt that Kickstarter is a great way for us to bring into realization one of our many ideas and an innovative product concept that people will love. We believe in the emerging power of community and that with your support, the small guys can bring new ideas to life. We hope that the Be The Robot™ Project and its online community is just the beginning of a lot more projects to follow. Not to mention you also get a pretty cool piece of Bluetooth™ hardware and the FREE open source smart device APP (for iOS and Android).

Our team has experience managing many similar projects to this on... meaning that it will not be an issue to get this one into quick and quality production.

Michael is currently based in Hong Kong and will be overseeing the manufacturing process throughout the upcoming months.

We also personally love BERO and have wanted to see this dream materialize into reality, but we can’t afford to do it on our own and this is just the beginning for BERO.

Bonus reason to pledge to the Be The Robot™ Project?

Development of the Be The Robot™ Project will be Open Sourced! You will get access to our pictures, videos and inside details that will be released to our community as BERO comes to life. We’ll keep you in the “circle of trust” (insert mandatory movie reference (grin)), so that you know what’s going on with BERO! 

We also hope to release BERO one day as the Google Bug Droid.

Thanks!

Michael and Jonathan

Interview with Michael Trzecieski speaking about the Be The Robot Project  (BERO) by Crowded Places:

FAQ Section

Question: What can BERO really do?

That’s the beautiful part—because BERO is built on an Open Source smartphone platform, the possibilities are nearly endless! Of course, we know that not everyone that buys BERO will want  to program him (though it’s really fun…and easier than you think), which is why he already comes pre-programmed with multiple functions like... driving around ... moving arms and head ...as well as playing back of sound files, dancing to music and reacting to smart device notifications. If you really want to have some fun, BERO can be programmed to navigate on his own, play custom voice and sound files, record and playback motion macros and a whole lot more, with full control using your Android or iOS Bluetooth enabled device. Yes, you can even record your own voice and have BERO move to its sound!

BERO is an extension of your smart device. The super fast connection between BERO and the smart device allows BERO to make all sorts of gestures and sounds at instantaneous speeds as well as to react to various smart device notifications. Want BERO to throw up his arms when you get a email message...well now you can!

Question: Will a version be coming that works with iOS?

Yes…BERO will be shipping to work with iOS / Android!!

Question: Will a version be coming that works with Nokia, Blackberry and Windows smartphones?

BERO may be compatible with Nokia, Windows and Blackberry smartphones but this compatibility is not guaranteed and there is no APP written at the moment for those smartphones. But, since the APP is Open Source, there will be source code floating around and if someone wants to implement it on another platform, it will benefit us all.

Question: How long is the BERO battery life?

The battery life with continuous driving around and full animations is about 1h to 2h. With normal use the battery life is about 3h-5h.

Questions: How does BERO recharge?

There is a mini USB socked on the bottom of BERO that allow for it to be plugged into a USB port for easy recharging.

Questions: How can I update BERO firmware?

The firmware is loaded from the SD card into the internal FLASH memory. By copying the latest firmware revision onto the SD card, BERO will load this into its internal FLASH memory for reading by the operating system and allow for latest functions and features.

Question: Can we include a functions and features comparison table for BERO? 

Yes! Here it is so you can see the various options.

Be The Robot Feature Table
Be The Robot Feature Table

Question: Will this gap be here in the final production sample?

No. There will be no gap here. It will look great as per the plastic tool sample.

iPhone is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. Android is a registered trademark of Google Inc.

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    20 backers

    BERO BEGINNER - Thanks for backing us! Get a mention on our website as supporting BERO BEGINNER.

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    6 backers

    BERO BASIC - Whoa, right on! Receive a BERO as described in BERO BASIC and a mention on our website. FREE worldwide registered air mail shipping.

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    18 backers

    BERO BLUETOOTH - Welcome to the party! Receive a BERO as described in BERO BLUETOOTH and a mention on our website. FREE worldwide registered air mail shipping.

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    24 backers

    BERO BACKER – A true fan! Receive a BERO as described in BERO BACKER and a mention on our website. FREE worldwide registered air mail shipping.

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    62 backers

    BERO BASSHEAD – A music lover! Receive a BERO as described in BERO BASSHEAD and a mention on our website. FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER shipping.

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    2 backers

    BERO BASSHEAD – A music lover! Receive a BERO as described in BERO BASSHEAD with PINK MATTE FINISH shell and a mention on our website. FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER shipping.

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    140 backers Limited (360 left of 500)

    BERO BLING – KICKSTARTER ONLY SILVER LIMITED EDITION – Did you have an Omnibot as a kid? This one does it all! Receive a BERO as described in BERO BLING SILVER LIMITED EDITION and a mention on our website. FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER shipping. BERO BLING BONUS – an edited video of the birth of BERO! See as BERO grows from initial concept, software development, to engineering samples, to the production and final shipping of BERO to you. See how BERO was made and how with your support you made it happen. An early download link will be sent to you once the video has been edited!

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    39 backers Limited (211 left of 250)

    BERO BLING – KICKSTARTER ONLY GOLD PLATED LIMITED EDITION – Did you have an Omnibot as a kid? This one does it all! Receive a BERO as described in BERO BLING GOLD PLATED LIMITED EDITION and a mention on our website. FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER shipping. BERO BLING BONUS – an edited video of the birth of BERO! See as BERO grows from initial concept, software development, to engineering samples, to the production and final shipping of BERO to you. See how BERO was made and how with your support you made it happen. An early download link will be sent to you once the video has been edited!

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    1 backer

    BERO BULK Set A - Wanna have more than a few BEROs kicking around? Receive 2 BEROs as described in BERO BACKER and 2 BEROs as described in BERO BASSHEAD. Total of 4 BEROs. FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER shipping for all 4 BEROs.

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    1 backer

    BERO BULK Set B - Wanna have a few more than a few BEROs kicking around? Receive 5 BEROs as described in BERO BACKER and 5 BEROs as descriedb in BERO BASSHEAD. Total of 10 BEROs. FREE WORLDWIDE COURIER shipping for all 10 BEROs.

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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    BERO- BUT I WANNA SEE HOW ITS MADE The rain making pledge- not only do you want to see BERO made, you want to see HOW its made and star in a video! We will fly you economy into Hong Kong from any normal international airport, cover your accommodation for 3 nights and show you the factory where BERO is made where you will be able to see the production line, ask questions and witness the birth of this great product. As an added bonus, you will also be privy to some top-secret developments going on in our BERO Batcave and you will be stars in the video as described in BERO BONUS!

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Funding period

- (33 days)