On my last trip to San Francisco this year I visited the California Academy of Sciences where i was immediately fascinated by a tiny robot called Ozobot. Ozobot looks amazingly cute and is able to perform a lot of magic that ultimately teaches your kids how to program by using a visual programming language thats similar to MIT Scratch. Ozobot moves along a black line and reacts on color codes that tell the bot to either turn, move faster or slower or to change the color of its led. Even if your kids are not programming so far its fun to paint mazes where the little friend moves around. Ozobot’s primary sensor is the color scanner that allows the bot to follow the black line and to read color codes in order to control its movements. Another amazing feature I found our recently is the possibility to program the little robots movements by using a visual block language called Ozobot Bit Blockly. Simply program your own Ozobot program online and transfer the program visually onto your bot without any cable involved. Its super cool to see how the bot receives its new program by just sending color codes to its scanner. Ozobot is clearly one of the most innovative teaching robots available right now, because its super simple to use and it looks so cute.
Save the date for the European Maker Faire that takes place from 3 to 6 October in ROME, Italy!
Massimo Banzi, one of the inventors of Arduino, is promoting and hosting this cool Make Event in October. It will be the perfect event for meeting the community of DIY activists and Makers all over Europe. The deadline for submitting your own Make projects and creations has been postopened until end of June. Submit your own Arduino projects here.
Maker Faire showcases the amazing work of all kinds and ages of makers—anyone who is embracing the do-it-yourself (or do-it-together) spirit and wants to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience. Topics for the Maker Call are: 3D Printing, Robot, Education, Design, Fashion, Arduino, Crafts, Science, Digital Fabrication, Green, Transportation, Interaction and Young Makers (under 16);
In this video I-Wei Huang shows a guy from the Wired magazin his amazing collection of robot designs. I-Wei Hung’s has a special interest in steampowered robot designs, as you can see in some of his robot designs. I-Wei Hung designs adorable cool robots, watch this video to get a glimpse on his robotic genius! Also refer to the original Wired Interview here.
This Arduino controlled Chess board set tangibly connects two players with each other from anywhere in the world. To combine physical interfaces to intuitively control virtual environments gives users the possibility to control all kinds of digital technology without much background knowledge. The combination of tangible artefacts with digital content is called ‘Tangible User Interfaces’. This amazing chess board game is a perfect example for such a tangible interface approach.
At this year CES, Lego just announced the next generation of Lego Mindstorms Educational robotic invention kits. Lego Mindstorms robotic educational kits are used by a large community of robotic hobbyists and the release of the next generation of their invention kit was a logic step. The new generation of Lego Mindstorm Kits is called Lego Mindstorms EV3 and will offer a deeper integration into the users consumer electronic, such as smartphones or digital cameras. Lego enhanced the new Lego Brick by adding more (16 MByte) Flash-Memory and (64 MByte) RAM, to offer the user more space for complex programming. In order to store sensor values or images on the Lego-Brick, Lego added a SD-Card slot. Lego also improved the 3D engineering experience by offering a new Creation software that is based upon the popular Autodesk suite, which enables the 3D engineering of Lego models and to provide a perspective view on your designs.
Watch this amazingly cool pole climbing robot, that is able to create urban graffity art taggings on public poles. The climbing robot is drawing while climbing up and down the pole. AKIRA, the author of the video who studied computer science, art and cultural studies at International Christian University Tokyo, calls his projects ‘experiments in urban intervention’, which means to tactically hack into your urban environments to create urban art. At the moment AKIRA is working as a freelance coder, engineer and artist in Tokyo. You can find more of his fantastic work on his site Ampontang.com.
Massoud Hassani, an Afghan product designer, recently published a wind toy design he had invented and tested during his childhood. This wind toy design consists of a large ball of artificial legs that is used to clear minefields. This innovative and quite cheap design can be used by the locals to disable single mines without the use of specific tools or large budgets. As Massoud Hassani explaines within the video below, his multi-leg design is driven by strong winds and looses just some artificial legs per mine which enables a single device to disable at least 3 mines within one trip.
Hipersfera airship for video survaillance tasks (image source: Hipersfera)
These days, the Croatian company Hipersfera presented an autonomous airship, that is designed to fulfill border control and survaillance tasks. It looks like a small sphere in the shape of a camera lense, as it is shown within the video below. This Helium filled sphere is able to float over a survaillance target without making much noise. While the real airship should come in a size of around 40 diameter, the prototype actually offers around 3.5 meter. This announcement comes right after the US Army declared the recreation of traditional airship technology, so it seems as if Zeppelin’s technology is still interesting.
“Spatially Targeted Communication and Self-Assembly,” a work by Nithin Mathews, Anders Lyhne Christensen, Rehan O’Grady, and Marco Dorigo, from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, was presented at IROS 2012 in Vilamoura, Portugal. The video shows their research on swarm robots that team up even with a flying AR-Drone, in order to fulfill combined tasks together. A really nice aspect is that the drones working together as a group are highlighted by using different light colors. As the ground drones are not able to scan large areas, they are directly cooperating with the flying AR-drone to get a detailed overview on the sourounding area. You can find details on this work on Spacially Targeted Communication and Self-Assembly within their recent paper.
Today, i received one of the first samples of the new Arduino Educational Starter Kits by RS and i have to admit that beside it’s cool design this educational starter kit is one of the most exiting collections of electronics i have ever tested. It comes in combination with an Arduino Projects Book that gives a detailed description of each Arduino experiment on more than 170 pages. For each project, Massimo Banzi, co-founder of Arduino gives an online video instruction, in which he explains the details. The tutorials start from the very beginning, how to set up your Arduino development environment and explain in simple incremental steps how to build more complex examples, that include all kinds of sensors, motors and even a LCD display (all part of the Arduino Starter Kit).
Unboxing my new Arduino Starter Kit
The entire Arduino Starter kit really contains an impressive collection of electronic components and all parts you need to start immediately. It consists of following major parts:
Arduino Projects Book
Arduino UNO Board
LCD screen 16×2 characters
Lots of LEDs
H-bridge motor driver
Diodes and resistors
Here are some pictures i took during the unboxing of the Arduino Starter Kit.