A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
Every inventor has a story from their childhood where they ruined their Mom's vacuum cleaner or their own toys, trying to "find out how it worked."
We wanted to create a robotic toy that not only could be taken apart to "see how it works" but encourages that kind of exploration so that a new generation of engineers and scientists can be created.
At Slant we are working to create kits and tools that get kids excited about technology. Robotics is the best means of doing this since it is so multidisiplinary. Biology, Physics, Mechanics, Electronics, Art, they are all components of Robotics.
The trouble is robotics can be scary for kids and expensive for classrooms. Not anymore. The LittleBot is a simple but expandable robot to get kids started with the possibilities of robotics.
LittleBot is a small 3D printed Arduino personal robot for STEM, fun, making, and even research.
What He can Do
Be Programmed with Arduino
Plugs together easily so kids can build him
Clean a Counter (Push a sponge around)
Battle Each Other
Create a Swarm to do a job
Stop Overthinking it. Just have some fun
What the Kids Learn
Littlebot is a fun toy, but he is mainly an educational tool. With resources from this campaign we will be working to create tutorials and explanations of how each part of him works so that kids can learn from him.
Assembly of the LittleBot is easy enough that kids can do it. and while doing so they see how electronics come together to create the body of a robot.
But the main electronics board is designed to be expanded on. So kids and makers can create new sensors and circuits and easily implement them into the LittleBot.
Using Graphical programming tools like Blockly and Scratch kids can program the LittleBot. And since all of our Arduino C code is available for download, kids can see examples of how written code controls a robot. We will also be creating more examples in the future.
Electronics and programming is great. But we live in a physical world. The LittleBot allows kids to create parts for it using tools like TinkerCAD and then 3D print them to see their designs come to life. These designs might be decorations for the robot or whole new sensor arrays to strap on.
Simple Design (3 Screws in the Entire Robot)
Onboard Ultrasonic Sensor
Controlled with Bluetooth Android App
Users can design and add sensors and attachments
LittleBot has been designed to be a minimalist approach to robotics. When kids are learning they don't need, a flashlight, accelerometer, tweezers, and a supercomputer on-board. Those things just add complexity and increase the fear of getting started.
LittleBot has what a kid needs to see what is possible with robotics, but then offers the expandability to go beyond that.
But to go above and beyond, the Bluetooth allows the robot to be controlled by a computer running things like vision software. Extra servos can be attached for grippers and other peripherals, and the list goes on. You can even add WiFi capabilities to the LittleBot
The onboard brain of the LittleBot is a Arduino on a custom circuit board that we use for nearly all of our robots.
The board allows for maximum expandability, including other servos, and more sensors. Its Bluetooth dock also allows you to connect to smart devices and create apps for the robot with tools like App Inventor.
LittleBot has multiple sensors. The most notable are the ultrasonic sensors that make his eyes. These let him see things up to 2 feet in front of him and as close as 4-5 inches.
The other sensors available are external attachments and can be added when someone wants to use them. We have created 2 external sensor arrays so far. We will create more in the future.
LittleBot has essentially two modes right out of the box. Remote Control and Autonomous. In the remote mode he is controlled using an Android Smartphone app.
In autonomous mode LittleBot uses his 'eyes' to interact with the world. When he sees something he will avoid it by generating some kind of reaction. This reaction is completely unique and is meant to surprise and encourage engagement. He is not a "wind-up" toy that just repeats regular actions, that would not be interesting, he is truly a robot that sees the world, thinks about it, and then takes some action.
All of the software for the LittleBot is entirely open-source. It is written in Arduino and C, allowing for a huge number of resources for beginner roboticists to draw from.
Also, since the software is based on Arduino, you can use tools such as Scratch and Blockly to program it as well.
In the future we will be adding to the software creating more and more functions and abilities for the LittleBot.
What You Get
LittleBot Maker Kit
The Maker Kits contains all the electronics and mechanical components you need to 3D print and then build your own LittleBot. 3D Printing files will be provided at the end of the campaign.
LittleBot Basic Kit
The LittleBot Basic kit, is just the LittleBot, all electronics mechanics, and 3D printed parts, with no extra peripherals. Assemble him and start using the app and wander modes right away.
LittleBot Basic Assembled
Just add batteries and download the app.
LittleBot Plus Kit
Basically the Plus is a Full LittleBot Kit with Gripper included.
LittleBot Plus Assembled
Just Attach the gripper, add batteries and download the Android App.
LittleBot Ultra Kit
Everything we have already listed but also with:
Line following sensor
Wall Following Infrared Sensor
A Little Background
The LitteBot is the youngest sibling in the LittleBot Family, His older brothers were far less mobile. The orignal LittleArm started as a small garage project that ended up becoming a formal product at Slant Concepts that has continued to grow.
Slant is a design shop. Several engineers and designers from all over the world work remotely to create various products. Most recently those products have been 3D printed robots. Slant was founded by Gabe Bentz to created truly useful robotics technologies. Slant is now responsible for many different products. One is Slant 3D, a 3D printing farm that can produce thousands of parts without the cost of molds. Another is the ShopArm, which is a 3D printed SCARA robot.
Risks and challenges
Any manufactured product that is brand new is susceptible to delays. We are no different. We can't guarantee that everything will execute smoothly. But we can mitigate the effects when things go wrong. Which we have done and will do.
LittleBot is the 4th in the LittleArm family to be put on kickstarter. The previous robots we delivered ahead of schedule, and on time when we had delays. We know how to execute and there is no reason to assume that that will not occur this time.
We already have manufacturers and suppliers chosen. Our timeline is clear and our Product is finished. If world shipping was faster we could start delivering LittleBots, the day after the campaign ends.