MakerClub Is Your One-Stop Shop For 3D-Printed Robots

 Image source: MakerClub

Last month, the UK-based company, MakerClub, launched an Indiegogo campaign with a desire to help those who are interested in learning 3D-printed robotics. Now they've surpassed 7,000 euros and are on the verge of bringing 3D-printed robotics into the spotlight.

MakerClub is for tinkerers, hobbyists, and makers alike. For those of you who want to engage in a fun project like building your own 3D-printed hexapod, MakerClub is perfect. To start, you order a bundle of electrical components and optional 3D-printed parts for a certain robot and MakerClub delivers them to your doorstep.

 Image source: MakerClub

Image source: MakerClub

MakerClub provides you with in-depth instructions for each of their robotics projects. They help you step-by-step until you're robot is ready to come to life. After building, you can use MakerConnect app on a smartphone device (iOS or Android) to take control of the robot. MakerClub states that you'll even be able to upload and sell your own custom robot designs on their site.

Image source: MakerClub

So what's the hardware inside these bots? Other than MakerClub's custom designed board, these robots consists of your average breadboard and hobby servos. All of the parts necessary to build a robot of your liking are bundled together when you purchase a kit. MakerClub's Arduino-like board allows for hassle-free programming and assembly. There's no need to build your own programmable chip if you use theirs. For an extra $50, it's a pretty good deal. With this sort of Arduino-compatibility, MakerClub has made a library of open-source code that users can use for their robots.

Like I stated above, MakerClub has a site where users can upload new robot designs, follow guides, and share code. With this sort of collaboration, makers will be able to expand their project library and learn from others. Sites like these have already been proven to work. Just look at Thingiverse and Instructables.

So far MakerClub has raised over 7,000 euros on Indiegogo. If you're looking for an affordable way to get started with 3D-printed robots, then take a look.

Source: MakerClub

Parrot's Bebop Drone Will Take To The Skies In December, Will Retail For $500

Image source: Parrot

Back in May, the company behind the AR.Drone, Parrot, revealed their answer to video and photography drones. The Bebop took the press by storm and pumped up the drone community by offering an all-in drone that could stream 1080p video in an all-in-one package. Parrot has just revealed the price tag.

We've just found out that Parrot will be selling the drone for $500 this December. That's almost $1000 less than DJI's popular Phantom 2 Vision Plus drone. Though it's a couple hundred more than the AR.Drone, Bebop offers significantly better features. Some nifty features include a 14MP wide angle, fish eye camera that can record HD video, sensors, 8GB of internal memory, and a built-in gimbal for camera stabilization. All these features contribute to the Bebop's ability to capture stunning HD video and images.

Along with a generous bundle of features, Parrot has also designed a dedicated controlled called the SkyController. With this controller, pilots can hook up VR goggles like Oculus Rift and use it to control the drone's camera. In addition, the controller boosts the range from 200 meters to 2 kilometers. It also provides a big, high tech display to gawk at.

Parrot plans to include the SkyController for $400 more. The Bebop will be available in three different colors in December. Apple stores will be selling the Bebop for $500 and $900.

Source: Parrot
Via: TechCrunch

Petronics Has Created A Robot That Your Cat Will Love

Image source: Petronics

Why play with your cat when you could get a robot to do it for you? No seriously, if you love your cat but can't find the time to give it some attention and play time, take a look at Mousr. Mousr is a robotic cat toy that is smartphone-enabled and perfect for any cat that loves chasing prey. Petronics is the startup behind this smart cat toy and they've already raised over $70,000 on Kickstarter. It's like cat and mouse except with robots.

Mousr offers more than just your average RC pet toy (they exist). It is packed with sensors like a Roomba and can sense the environment around it. It rolls across your floor waving its string tail (tails are interchangeable) around and taunting your cat. Your cat will attempt to catch the "mouse" but Mousr is speedy quick and reacts in a split second. In addition to moving around like a real mouse, Mousr has some extra technology that's sure to gain your cat's attention. An internal speaker and a few LEDs provide sound and visual output that are sure to get your cat chasing Mousr around.

If you'd rather take control of Mousr then more the power to you. Petronics has equipped with Mousr with Bluetooth so you can use your smartphone and Mousr's app. Wireless updates that change how Mousr reacts autonomously are also another nifty feature. SimpleBotics got in touch with David from Petronics. He explained "that the app will not only be used to remote control Mousr, but will serve as an interface so that pet owners can tailor-fit Mousr's behavior to match their cat's personality and play style." This really makes Mousr an intelligent pet toy and sets it apart from all the rest. But this type of robotic pet toy comes at a cost.The Mousr will retail for $140 making it a not-so-cheap cat toy. Still pretty neat if you happen to be a gadget junkie.

Petronics has been able to construct a final design, but they need some extra funding from Kickstarter. If Petronics raises $100,000 then Mousr will be shipped out to backers in Fall of next year.

Source: Kickstarter

2014 Robot Gift Guide: Drones, Robots For Kids, And More

Need some robot gifts ideas for the holidays? Here's a list of 7 different robots that make perfect gifts.

Parrot Rolling Spider Quadcopter 
Parrot's MiniDrone Rolling Spider makes a perfect gift for those getting started with drones. It can be controlled via iPhone and Android f and also has an attachable wheel to roll around on the floor and ceiling. A great drone that offers hours of fun and doesn't rip a whole in your wallet.

Sphere Ollie
Sphere Ollie is a devilish little toy. It's a tube that works with your iPhone or Android device and can drive around at 14 mph speeds. It can achieve 3 feet of air off ramps and perform awesome tricks. You can read our full review here!

Hexbugs are a personal favorite. Why? These little robot creatures are very fun, come in different types, and are affordable. They can crab walk across your floor, use their six legs to chase your dog, and they can act as learning tools for kids.

It's time to throw away the screwdriver and forget about nuts and bolts. Instead, how about building your next robot with magnets? Developed by Modular Robotics, MOSS is a crowdfunded robot that makes robotics as easy as snapping a few blocks together. Perfect for kids who love building with Legos and wan't to learn about robotics.

Lego Mindstorms EV3
Lego's EV3 kit is the predecessor to the popular NXT robotics kit. It's an all-in-one robotics kit that allows kids to build robots by snapping together Lego bricks. Once built, the robot can be programmed by a computer or Bluetooth device. There are 100s of projects you can build with the Lego Mindstorms EV3.

MiP is a small, smart-connected toy that runs around on Segway wheels. It can be controlled by smartphones, hand gestures, and has a lot of apps to work with. MiP is perfect for those looking for a robotic toy packed with personality.

Mint is one of those robots that makes household chores a little easier. It's a small compact robotic square that can sweep and wet mop floors. Using onboard sensors and an external navigation cube, Mint can detect a room's walls, baseboards, and furniture. It's affordable when compared to other cleaning robots on the market and does a good job at picking up pet hair.

Codie Is A Small Robot That Drives Around And Teaches Kids To Code

I've lost count on how many of these "teach kids how to code" robots there are now, but they don't seem to be mimicking each other that much. Each one has their own set of features and sells on different points. Today, let's take a second to look at Codie.

Codie is a small, programmable, drivable, and kid-friendly robot. Built by a Hungarian startup, Codie is about to embark on a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. Yes, I know. This sounds like the typical story for robotics products these days. But let's look past that.

Unlike other robots aimed at teaching kids to code, Codie is taking a more familiar approach. It's using the power of smart devices that kids already love and know how to use. Codie works seamlessly with iPods and iPhones (Android and Windows coming soon) through intuitive touch-controlled apps. The apps allow kids to drag blocks and create programs that Codie follows. You can make him move around, avoid obstacles, and more. Here's a full list of features.

A dev from Codie explains.

We will launch our Crowdfunding campaign soon, because we believe that everyone should be digital literate. Teach coding and how to use computers is a global challenge. Codie is an affordable and fun robotic toy that teaches kids the logic of computers and coding. While playing with Codie your child will become familiar with logical thinking and problem solving that all technology is based on. Codie is all about the education of algorithmic thinking.

We've spoken with the team behind Codie and they've told us that they're about to launch the funding campaign soon. We'll have more on this story as we collect more information. Thank you for reading and check out their website.

RiQ Is The Ultimate Beginner Arduino Robot Kit

Image source: RiQ

Looking to start robotics with Arduino or expand on a previous robotics project? Then take a good look at the RiQ robotics kit. RiQ is an easy to build, programmable robot that offers loads of features while maintaing ease of use. Its custom, GUI-based software, PCS Cortex 5.0 is available on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. RiQ is relatively low-cost, works with tons of electronics components, and is Arduino-compatible. It's the perfect introductory bundle when learning robotics!

RiQ is designed to be your all-in-one experimental robotics kit. Its unique board offers wireless communications, component ports, motor and servo shields, onboard sensors, and a power supply. Combining all these parts allows RiQ to be a standalone robot but offer multiple features at the same time. The robot can react to touch with touch sensors, sound with a sound sensor, objects with an ultrasound sensor, light with a light sensor, and much more. In addition, RiQ supports motors and full rotation servos. LEDs allow the builders to input some creativity into their robotics project. RiQ specs are as follows.

Image source: RiQ

RiQ is designed to teach kids how to code and build robots at the same time. The PCS Cortex 5.0 is drag and drop and enables kids to program robots with devices they're already familiar with. Devices such as iPads and Android tablets can be used to program the RiQ. The software also works with Windows and Mac. For those who are more advanced, the PCS Cortex 5.0 has a "show me the code" feature that converts blocks to codes in an instant. That's perfect for teaching kids how to code.

Another interested feature to note is that the brain is compatible and can be attached to Lego, K'NeX, Minds-I, and Vex kits.

Some examples of what you can build with RiQ include sumo robots, drawing robots, line following robots, light sensing robots, and object avoiding robots. Though with the level of compatibility that this robot offers, projects are only limited to your imagination. RiQ is currently available for pre-order. You can order an Android or iOS version for $199.

Ambulance Drone Travels 60 mph To Delivery Medical Help, Could Increase Survival Rate From 8% To 80%

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When suffering from cardiac arrest, time is critical and could mean the difference between life or death. 8% survive because of quick response times from medical assistance and services. With TU Delft's new ambulance drone, the percentage of survivors could sky rocket up to 80%.

The drone is part of an ongoing project to create a network of drones to deliver quick and reliable medical help. The drone seen in the video above is amazingly fast and uses the GPS coordinates of the caller's phone to reach its destination within minutes. Traveling at 60 mph to any destination within 4.6 miles, it bumps the survival rate from "eight to 80 percent." The foldable drone then serves as a medical toolkit upon arrival. It also has a live webcam so a medical team on the backend can provide instructions and assistance to near bystanders helping the injured.

‘Currently, only 20% of untrained people are able to successfully apply a defibrillator,’ says Momont. ‘This rate can be increased to 90% if people are provided with instructions at the scene. Moreover, the presence of the emergency operator via the drone's loudspeaker helps to reduce the panic of the situation.'

Image source:

Developer Alec Momont had to design a new type of drone frame to house all the necessary medical equipment. By allowing the drone to fold up, it can be carried as a portable toolkit. Sockets in the drone house equipment.

However, these types of ambulance drones aren't anything new. The german-made Defikopter is capable of delivering defibrillators at 40 mph speeds (20 mph slower than the one we've seen today) but has an increased range of 6 miles. One important feature it lacks is that theres no webcam link between the emergency operators and those in need of medical assistance.

There are still legal obstacles to overcome. It's currently illegal for drones to be flying around countries in Europe. Hopefully this type of emergency drone will be used in the near future.

Source: TU Delft

MegaBots Inc. Looks To Raise $1,800,000 To Build Giant Battle Mech Robots

Image source: Kickstarter, MegaBots Inc.

Your fantasy of watching (or piloting) live-action, giant mech robot combat is just around the corner. MegaBots Inc. recently started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for building giant fighting robot mechs. The catch? They're going to need $1,800,000 to build two mechs and launch a full-fledged tournament system.

The team at MegaBots Inc. consists of 20 engineers, scientists, designers, artists, fabricators, and producers dedicated to building 15-foot-tall, 7 1/2 ton walking mech robots. More specifically, human-piloted, walking mechs that wield around giant paintball guns. The games consists of driver and gunner piloted MegaBots, other vehicles, defense systems, and obstacles. The combat is all live-action and is reminiscent of a kick-ass battle scene from Titanfall. Each bot is covered in customized armor that breaks off with each hit from the opponent. Weapons jam, the robot breaks down, and joints freeze as the hits accumulate. If a robot becomes too damaged, its arms will be blown off!

Image source: Kickstarter, MegaBots Inc.

As crazy as this whole idea sounds, MegaBots Inc. already has some experience building mech robots under their belt. They've managed to build a working prototype that includes a movable torso, cockpit, and weaponized arm. Though the startup is still in need of some serious money, there's great reward for those who back their project. Here's the specs.

Image source: Kickstarter, MegaBots Inc.

Each MegaBot is made by using the same technology found in construction equipment like bulldozers and excavators. Unlike construction equipment, they use algorithms and computers to balance on two legs.

If the MegaBots Inc. falls short of $1,800,000, they'll use the remaining money to have a fight-to-the-death match between two mechs. If more funds are received, then more MegaBots will be made. Game types such as capture the flag and king of the hill will be played by the MegaBots.

If you're in need of a mech robot but aren't looking to build one, you can pay MegaBots $999,999 and they'll make you a 15-foot one. With 48 colors to choose from, complimentary ammo, and a cup holder, it's a pretty good bargain.

Source: Kickstarter