Sunday, 19 May 2013

LinkBot modular robot

Yes, LinkBot is another new robot on Kickstarter! This one is notably different from the others though.

Each LinkBot unit can work on its own as a mini robot and you are encouraged to get creative and add on features to your LinkBot to customize it - you can attach things using standard screws.

And you can join together multiple LinkBots to create more complex robots. This is quite a neat trick and makes this robotics kit different to others that tend to have a central processor with attached sensors and outputs that must be connected together.

The units can communicate - using the accelerometer of one device to control another is a neat trick.

There are also some neat features to help kids get started programming their robots quickly. You can get a robot to learn a sequence of steps that you physically move them through. You can also get one robot to copy another.

There's also custom graphical software for programming robots.

A LinkBot unit includes an accelerometer, motorized hubs for creating wheels and other moving part, a buzzer and a multi-colored LED. It also has Zigbee wireless for remote communication and the ability to add on a breakout board for additional capabilities.

There are downloadable 3D printer files for accessories to add on to your robot.

Let's see LinkBot in action:

I really like this idea a lot - I can see that you can create so really innovative robots with this technology, you can build vehicle, creature or machine type robots. But to get the most from it you'll want multiple LinkBot units which gets expensive. It would be a great investment for a club, camp or school that could afford a big kit.

Other Kickstarter robot projects of interest are Sparki and BrickPi. And there's also LEGO Mindstorms EV3 coming out later in 2013. It's a good year for educational robots!

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