Our Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects of the week are usually, no matter how tenuously, connected to the Mac or iOS. This week’s featured project is a little different. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for robots. Heck, I’m a geek, big surprise right? I also have another soft spot for programming. I am all for teaching beginning programming to kids in school. Here’s a project that combines both: Sparki – The Easy Robot for Everyone!
From the Sparki Kickstarter webpage:
Sparki is an affordable, easy to use, and fun intro to programming, electronics, and robotics for all ages (11+). It is simple enough for beginners, while being feature-packed enough to be a must-have for pro-users. Sparki is your chance to have your very own robot, completely open source and available to do your bidding.
Sparki works right out of the box with the included remote control. You can also write your own programs. Just plug Sparki in via USB, install the custom-enhanced Arduino software and try any of the dozens of example programs before trying your own. There are programs to control every sensor and actuator on Sparki:
- 1x Ultrasonic distance sensor (get distance from Sparki to walls/objects)
- 1x 3-Axis Accelerometer (pick-up detection, fall detection, hill climbing)
- 3x Light-sensing phototransistors (light following, darkness seeking)
- 5x Line-following and edge detection sensors (mazes, line follow, sumo)
- 1x IR bounce for gripper (detect things in the gripper)
- 1x 128×64 Graphic LCD
- 1x RGB LED (RGB = generate any color!)
- 1x Buzzer (beeping, booping, and musical tones!)
- 1x IR Transmitter (like your TV remote control)
- 1x IR Receiver (like your TV)
- 1x IR Remote control (lots of buttons to control Sparki with)
- 1x TTL Serial port for expansion (talk to an Arduino/Raspberry Pi)
- 1x Port for Bluetooth Serial Module (not in all rewards)
- Powered by 4xAA batteries (rechargeable or alkaline)
- 2x Geared stepper motors (precise, measured movement down to millimeters/ sub-degrees)
- Marker holder for drawing:
I may have to pledge to the project just to get to play with one of these. They had me at “marker holder for drawing.”
Pledge levels run anywhere from $2, (You get a ArcBotics Sticker as a thank you for your support), all the way up to $450 or more, (You’ll receive a Classroom Pack for Educators with 5 non-Bluetooth Sparkis, a classroom material pack and 1 hour of 1-on-1 video chat instructor training.)
Be sure to visit the Sparki website and check it out. If you, or your kids are at all interested in robotics, Sparki might be the Kickstart for you.
Have you seen, or even better yet do you have, a current Kickstarter or Indiegogo project you’d like us to check out? If you do then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me all about the project, and why you think it would make a good subject for a future Kickstarter/Indiegogo Project of the Week. If I agree, I’ll contact you for more information.