Tuesday, 24 January 2017

bots_alive | robots that play and find their way

bots_alive have announced a new crowdfunding campaign to launch a computer vision add-on kit for the Hexbug Spider.

The kit works with a mobile phone and wants to turn the Hexbug Spider into a character that kids will respond to. The goal of the company is to create robots that have behaviours that feel like they are alive.

bots_alive uses a decal for the Hexbug Spider and vision blocks that the app can recognise.  bots_alive makes use of the camera on the phone and uses computer vision techniques to interpret what it sees. An IR blaster add-on for the phone sends IR signals to control the Hexbug Spider based on its environment.

bots_alive is designed for 6-11 year olds and looks like a fun way for kids that age have some fun with computer vision technology and learn about autonomous robot behaviour. Kids can build mazes and set challenges for their bot to complete.
"We see the curiosity-driven play of bots_alive to be the first step: building a passion in children for the human-centered design, technology, engineering, and math that drives the robots." bots_alive
bots_alive draws on research done at the MIT Media Lab by founder Brad Knox. The team behind bots_alive has some impressive robotics, computer vision and kit tech credentials.

There are reward options that include HexBug Spider robots as well as kits for those who already own the robot.

OS and Android will be supported (though the developers warn that there could be delays for Android on some devices.)

You can check out the bots_alive campaign on Kickstarter.

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