Dash Robotics is a California-based startup where bug-inspired robots is their business. Founded by three UC Berkeley students back in 2013, Dash Robotics has developed one of the world’s most affordable, capable, bio-inspired robots to date, Dash. Dash is a small, six-legged robot that’s constructed out of a cheap, paper-like composite and it’s built together like origami. Today, Dash Robotics has taken their initial idea of Dash to Kickstarter with Kamigami.
Kamigami is a more kid-friendly approach to the Dash robot. It’s a new STEM toy that allows anyone to build and bring their own robots to life. Based on Japanese origami, Kamigami are small, simple, and super fast to put together. They’re constructed from a strong and flexible composite and they’re packed with tech on the inside.
Each Kamigami is designed similar to the Dash robot. A “naked” skeleton made up of a the flexible material houses the electronics, but an additional Kamigami shell rests on top and adds some character to each robot. In addition to the artsy shell, Kamigami robots are outfitted with a suite of ten sensors to react to their environment and connect with tech like smartphones or even other Kamigami. They can be programmed using the drag-and-drop Kamigami iOS app (Android app coming in 2016) and can even swarm/communicate with other nearby Kamigami robots. Play time with these little robots lasts anywhere between 45-60 minutes, but their batteries recharge in 30 minutes.
So what’s so good about Kamigami’s design and how does this affect it as a consumer product? Good question! Being inspired by nature brings a plethora of advantages to robotics. Firstly, design by nature allows robots like Kamigami to be simple and require the least amount of parts to work. Furthermore, this keeps the cost of said robots to a minimum when compared to other, more complex robots. Simplicity and cost out of the way, nature-inspired design also brings reliability to the table. Kamigami robots are lightweight, but extremely strong. They can be dropped from any distance, run into walls, and still sustain little to no damage.
Dash Robotics is looking to raise $50,000 for Kamigami on Kickstarter. The regular backer package reserves you a Kamigami for $50, but there’s also other perks that include additional robots. Dash Robotics is expecting to ship Kamigami out to backers starting January 2016.