Robo Wunderkind - Teaching Kids Robotics and Programming
Tom Spendlove posted on October 01, 2015 | 6452 views

Rustem Akishbekov studied computer science at the Vienna University of Technology and built robots on the Arduino platform. He saw several friends and students get interested in robotics but there was no fun and easy way to learn and build robots. He started to develop an idea for a robot that would be easy to build, easy to code and accessible to everyone. Rustem and his team at StartRobo are running a Kickstarter campaign for Robo Wunderkind, a modular and colorful robotics platform that is compatible with Legos.

The biggest engineering and design challenge the team faced was the connection between cubes. An attachment was needed that was both physical and electrical. The proprietary connection system has a central disc and four posts that protrude on both sides, with electrical contacts on the disc. Cubes on each side and the disc itself can be assembled in any configuration.

Cubes each have different functions – the microcontroller cube, battery cube, motor cubes, sensor cubes and Bluetooth cube all work together and link to an app on a tablet or smartphone through Bluetooth 4.0/LE or wi-fi connection.

The 1500 milliAmp hour lithium polymer battery is estimated to run two hours of total playtime and charges through a micro USB. The microcontroller cube has 4 GB of eMMC flash memory and 256 MB DDR3 RAM. Cubes use the Allwinner A13 SoC architecture.

Robo’s app uses modular building concepts to teach programming in the same vein as Lego’s Mindstorm platform. A curriculum has also been developed and the campaign video features a few teachers discussing the impact that the robots have had in their classrooms. The curriculum focuses on robotics, coding and creative thinking for young learners.

Robo looks to be a great tool for educators and makers to use when introducing robotics to kids. The video is professionally done and several iterations of prototype designs, electrical components and cubes are shown on the page. The campaign ends on October 30, 2015 and as of today is well past half of their $70,000 goal.

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