This morning Modular Robotics announced a Kickstarter campaign that will bring “thousands and thousands of tiny robots” into the world.
Think of them as gateway drugs into the world of robotics: First, you learn about the basic concept of robotics by connecting Cubelets. Then, using the API, you get a taste of programming. Then you’re hooked, learning C and making your Cubelets do all kinds of things.
Next thing you know, you’re a engineering student at MIT and, boom, high-tech labor shortage over. You’re welcome, America.
Lofty goals for a small company in Boulder, but with its newest creation, Modular Robotics is just raising expectations even higher. After 2 1/2 years of development, Modular Robotics is launching MOSS.
MOSS follows the same idea as Cubelets: tiny robots that require no knowledge of electronics or coding. However, MOSS allows for more dynamic building. Cubelets were blocks that clicked together. MOSS incorporates spherical ball bearings and “rare earth” magnets to connect the modules. The magnets create joints and hinges, allowing the wheels of the car above to actually turn like regular wheels.
With the launch of MOSS, Modular Robotics is also rolling out a few iPhone apps that will allow builders to control their robots from their phones using bluetooh technology. Robots and remote controls in one toy? I’m sold.
Most toys and consumer electronics are built outside of the United States, but Modular Robotics thinks they know a better way. They’ve built a factory in Boulder and all parts of MOSS will be assembled right there. “We get to build robots that help us build robots,” they point out on the Kickstarter page.
Smart toys are increasing in popularity as the world changes. There are competitors in the space, like New York-based Little Bits. However, Modular Robotics offers a simpler experience. Pull the toys out of the box, click them together, and watch your robot work.
The Time excerpt above plays perfectly on every parents’ deepest desire: for our children to be successful. In past years parents plopped their kids down in front of Baby Einstein in hopes of increasing their intelligence. Today’s savvy parents know that if our kids are exposed early to STEM, they may actually have a job later in life. (Unlike most of us, who wasted our time with silly humanities degrees…)
MOSS is officially on Kickstarter, and backers will be the first customers with access to the new toys.