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The simplest Arduino robot for kids to learn engineering, programming, and robotics. Or they can just have fun.
The simplest Arduino robot for kids to learn engineering, programming, and robotics. Or they can just have fun.
58 backers pledged $5,575 to help bring this project to life.
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LittleBot: A Fun Arduino Robot for STEM and Makers project video thumbnail
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LittleBot: A Fun Arduino Robot for STEM and Makers

$5,575

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What is a prototype?

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.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

Project supporting material callout image

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

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.

A Group of Grade-schoolers Trying our the LittleBot
A Group of Grade-schoolers Trying our the LittleBot

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. 

Press Materials Here.

Overview

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
  • Fully Autonomous
  • Wall Following
  • Obstacle Avoidance
  • Dance
  • Clean a Counter (Push a sponge around)
  • Battle Each Other

Applications

  • Stem Education
  • Making
  • Create a Swarm to do a job
  • Sumo Competitions
  • 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.

Electronics 

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. 

LittleBot with Extra Sound Circuit Created with a Breadboard
LittleBot with Extra Sound Circuit Created with a Breadboard

Programming

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.

LittleBot Can be Reprogrammed Using Blockly or Arduino C Code
LittleBot Can be Reprogrammed Using Blockly or Arduino C Code

 Physical Design

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.

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 The Design

The LittleBot Basic
The LittleBot Basic
  • Simple Design (3 Screws in the Entire Robot)
  • Arduino Based
  • Onboard Ultrasonic Sensor
  • Controlled with Bluetooth Android App
  • 3D Printed
  • 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.

Snap on the Shell to Complete the LittleBot
Snap on the Shell to Complete the LittleBot

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 Brain

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.

The Mainboard of the LittleBot can Support Many Sensors and Up to 8 Servos
The Mainboard of the LittleBot can Support Many Sensors and Up to 8 Servos

 

The Meped Board for the LittleBot
The Meped Board for the LittleBot

 

The Sensors

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.

Extra Sensors

  • Line Following
  • Infrared Wall Following

 

 

 Software

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.

Android App for LittleArm Plus (With gripper)
Android App for LittleArm Plus (With gripper)

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.

Using QR Codes to Track LittleBots
Using QR Codes to Track LittleBots

 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.

The Parts in the Maker Kit
The Parts in the Maker Kit

  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 Kit
LittleBot Basic Kit

 LittleBot Basic Assembled

Just add batteries and download the app.

How The Basic Looks Right out of the Box
How The Basic Looks Right out of the Box

 LittleBot Plus Kit 

Basically the Plus is a Full LittleBot Kit with Gripper included.

The LittleBot Plus Kit
The LittleBot Plus Kit

LittleBot Plus Assembled

Just Attach the gripper, add batteries and download the Android App.

Gripper Kit Included
Gripper Kit Included

LittleBot Ultra Kit

Everything we have already listed but also with:

  • Line following sensor
  • Dozer
  • Gripper 
  • Wall Following Infrared Sensor
LittleBot Ultra Kit
LittleBot Ultra Kit

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.

LittleBot's Older Brothers
LittleBot's Older Brothers

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. 

The Slant 3D Farm
The Slant 3D Farm

 

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.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Funding period

- (30 days)

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