The Hottest Black Friday Deals On Robots

Looking to save a few bucks or perhaps 50% on some the hottest robots and drones? Here are the best deals we've found!

DJI Phantom 2 Vision
Deal: $719    Regular: $1399    You save: 49%

Sphero and Ollie
Save $50 on Sphero and $20 on Ollie

HEXBUG Nano 5-Pack
Deal: $19.99    Regular: $29.99    You save: $10

Deal: %40    Off Regular: $49.99    You save: $19    Coupon code: ozobotbf

GoPro To Launch Their Own Consumer Drone "Late Next Year"

Image source: Wikipedia, DJI Phantom

The company behind the world's most widely used action camera, GoPro, is planning on developing their own drone. The Wall Street Journal reports that GoPro will be releasing their own line of consumer drones "late next year." In the report, it's estimated that their drone could retail at a competitive price between $500-$1000. With the release of Parrot's Bebop and the popular DJI Phantom, GoPro's exclusive drone could really make this industry interesting.

Like The Verge has said, Parrot and DJI have been in the business early on. Parrot's offered their line up of video and photography with the A.R.Drone. DJI's Phantom series is one of the most popular go-to drones for video and photo drones. It's not surprise that GoPro is ready to take one step further and provide their own, exclusive, consumer drones. 

SimpleBotics has reached out to GoPro, and we'll provide updates. This story is developing.

Researchers Have Put The Mind Of A Worm Inside A LEGO Robot

Image source: YouTube

Are we any closer to those deadly, killer A.I. robots that science fiction has been promising for the past few decades? The short answer is no, but researchers have gotten a few steps closer by putting the 'mind' of a worm into a LEGO robot.

Our brains our extremely complex compared to a worm's (C. Elegan) whose brain only has 302 neurons. To take advantage of this small number, researchers from the OpenWorm project have implemented their own software into a LEGO robot. The software mimics the nematode's stimulus responses and acts as if it were actually a worm.

The whole process is complex so we'll simplify it. A neural map of the C. Elegan's brain has been developed by one of OpenWorms founders, Timothy Busbice. The map that has been implemented into the robot allows for sensory input and motor output. To start, if a sensor picks up any information, it sends a value to its respective sensory "neuron" over UDP packets (internet communications protocol). That neurons then tell the motors to output an action. Whether it be reversing due to the robot "smelling" something or going forward, the robot's movements are not what you'd expect. Unlike your typical "if-then" robot, this worm robot outputs actions based on which neurons are activated by the values delivered by the sensors. It's a bit more random but pretty neat.

I-Programming news reports that Busbice is working on a Raspberry Pi version of the worm robot. It's not finished yet but expect to see it soon.

What do you think? Is this just some clever programming or are we on the verge of some serious robot A.I.?

Source: I-Programmer

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.