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We are inside Dash Robotics’ lab as it begins a new campaign for smartphone programmable robots - meet Kamigami

We are inside Dash Robotics’ lab as it begins a new campaign for smartphone programmable robots -
Earlier this year, we got to take a close look at a nifty accessory (okay, call it a toy if you must) that is also a project from the point you put it together to the use and development of behavior in your very own robot. The best part, no programming experience in some exotic language is required.

The company, Dash Robotics, has successfully worked through its early adopter Beta program with the original Dash Robot, the companion application, polished the production process, refined the circuitry, and is now ready to go to market.

For its inaugural launch, Dash is introducing the Kamigami Robot on Kickstarter. To celebrate the affair, Dash invited us to visit their lab in the Bay Area to see the final designs, look at how they have developed the robot, and show off the mobile app since it is the lynchpin of the whole product.

The word Kamigami refers to the paper commonly used in origami in Japan. In this case, the composite plastic-fabric material is used. The team at Dash refined a solution they worked on as PhD students at the University of California, Berkeley. The final composite is of their own invention and the patent is pending. The material does not rip and it does not develop a memory or soft-spot like cardboard or regular plastic.

Design and Build

The Kamigami Robot is a culmination of a philosophy of: build, program, play, evolve. Dash Robotics hopes the easy assembly, and familiar iOS interface will entice young people to explore high-technology as they grow up (we are certain this will attract just as many adults and adolescents that just like gadgets too). The chassis is assembled using pop-rivets, no glue or tools required. The electronics and gearbox are a single unit, and are better integrated into the final assembly. In all, it should take less than an hour to put everything together.

Interface and Play

The first generation Beta testers could program behaviors into their robots using Arduino, but that was something the creators knew would limit wider acceptance as they went to market. The mobile app is now the interface to program new behaviors into the Kamigami.

The Kamigami Robot is now fitted with infrared emitters that enabled units to “play tag,” battle each other, and communicate.

The interface itself is as intuitive as it can get. After pairing your iOS device (and soon Android) via Bluetooth, you control your Kamigami Robot with a virtual joystick. The app will accommodate programmable behaviors (such as what to do when the robot detects it falls off a table), and it also provides real-time information from on-board accelerometers.

Price, Availability, and Expectations

Dash Robotics is well situated to reach its Kickstarter goal of $50,000, though its initial goal to have a final product available in time for the holidays had to be pushed back to ensure all the commitments can be met.

The campaign starts at $49 for one Kamigami robot. There is also a $59 tier for those that want to be the first 1,000 to get one. $99 will bag you two robots (a 33% discount off expected retail price), $139 for three robots, and there is a special Classroom Pack for schools at $450. With exception of the “early shipping” tier, which will ship in January 2016, all other Kamigami Robot orders will ship in March.

Where the Kamigami breaks new ground is in its programmability directly with the smartphone. Moreover, the interactive nature of the accessories themselves and how you can develop swarm behaviors brings the smartphone into a realm usually reserved for workstations. That is neat technology no matter how old you are.

See how Kamigami gets made, how durable it is, and click on the source link below to connect with the campaign.

source: Kamigami Robots (Kickstarter)

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