Rico – Turn your used smartphone into a smart-home security device

Rico is a smarthome security device that uses your old smartphone as its brain and eyes. We took away the clutter of heavy and expensive home security hardware and replaced them with an old smartphone. All you need to do is install an App into your old smartphone, insert it into Rico, turn it on, and your smarthome security companion is ready.

Rico has just launched on Kickstarter

Kallidil Kalidasan, the CEO of MindHelix, Inc which created Rico says, “Smartphones are really powerful devices with HD cameras, microphones, 3G and WiFi connectivity and a powerful processor. Rico takes these capabilities and uses them to transform your home into a smarter, secure home at an affordable price point.”

Users connect with their Rico through the Rico App which will be available across all major smartphone platforms. Rico comes equipped with sensors that detect the slightest changes in your home like temperature, humidity, motion, carbon monoxide, smoke, natural gas, noise levels etc. It will immediately alert you when something goes wrong and you can even watch live video of your living room with Rico App. Rico also comes with smart power sockets which can control your appliances using the Rico App from anywhere.

Whilst Rico is an effective solution to home security, Kali points out that the product is trying to solve a much bigger problem. “We love how cute Rico is. But the reality of how many smartphones are wasted is not so cute. So we decided that this would be a focus for us when we began the project. It turns out that we have created not just a viable alternative use for your old smartphone, but an industry-disrupting product. Because of this, we truly believe it is going to take the world by storm.”

He is right. For the average consumer, the shelf-life of a smartphone is 24 months. According to IDC, of the over 280 million smartphones that were sold last year, many will be replaced without being recycled. These phones are toxic to the environment, polluting the air and contaminating soil and water with metals and plastics. What’s worse is that over 90% of these will be in perfect working order.

With Rico, MindHelix aims to disrupt the smart-home market and then encourage us to rethink how we consume electronics. The company plans to open up developer APIs for Rico, allowing developers around the world to create a community and help Rico grow. Kali says “We’ve developed working prototypes of Rico and we need your help to bring Rico to market. We want to solve the problem of used smartphones creating a huge environmental impact. Rico helps consumers repurpose them for something as cool as a smart home solution”.

Rico is a product from Mindhelix, Inc a Bay Area based startup which was part of the batch 3 at the Alchemist Accelerator program.

Rico is now raising $100,000 on Kickstarter and has already chalked up 30% of its target in the first week. Kickstarter page here : http://kck.st/1pmEqzN

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Scratchduino is going to Kickstarter!

ScratchDuino, the Programmable Magnetic Robots Construction Kit is going to Kickstarter.

Mezon.Ru, a winner of Google Rise Awards 2013 and 2014, is proud to announce the launch of  kickstarter campaign for their programmable magnetic robot kit ScratchDuino. The goal is to raise$105,000 by October 24, 2014, and to start the serial production of ScratchDuino robots construction kits in Finland.

Being completely open source, the ScratchDuino robots construction kit allows users to assemble robots utilizing the original set of parts, to modify their robots in a various ways, to program AI, and to share their modifications with STEM robotics community all over world.

Kickstarter project set of rewards includes the robot kit with different versions of body, educational class kit with master class included, all blueprints and assembly schematics (on usb flash and downloadable) for those backers, who would like to create ScratchDuino from scratch completely.

More information about the ScratchDuino robots construction kit can be found here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scratchduino/scratchduino

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Disney’s Big Hero 6 – Official US Trailer 2

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Robodonien 2014

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Big September for STEM Toy Startup TROBO: Kickstarter Launch, ABC Kids Expo and Maker Faire Orlando

 

TROBO-NowOnKickstarter-2

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s a big month for TROBO the Storytelling Robot as the company launches its Kickstarter campaign and participates in both the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas and Maker Faire Orlando.

Created by two dads, Jeremy Scheinberg and Chris Harden, TROBO is a huggable stuffed robot toy and storytelling app that answers kids’ questions about the science and engineering around them.

The plush storytelling robot, TROBO, uses an interactive storytelling app to read out loud and engage children ages 2-7 through an iPad. They currently have 2 characters…a male TROBO, Edison and a female TROBO, Curie.

“TROBO’s mission is more than just child’s play,” stated Scheinberg. “The goal is to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the world around them through exciting and creative story lines that make the child the star of the story.”

TROBO’s Kickstarter campaign launched on Wednesday, September 3rd and raised 1/3 of their $60,000 goal in the first 24 hours. The campaign will fund the first round of manufacturing and complete development of the storytelling application. The campaign – which is accessible at www.TROBOkickstarter.com – aims to appeal to parents and grandparents looking for smarter toys for children.

The company will also be appearing at the ABC Kids’ Expo September 7-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center where they were accepted into the show’s “Invention Connection” pavilion for innovative juvenile product startups. “We are really excited to meet with toy buyers from all over the world to get more feedback which will help us bring TROBO to market,” said Scheinberg. TROBO will be exhibiting at the show at booth #35 in the Invention Connection.

Rounding out a busy few weeks, the company will also be exhibiting at Maker Faire Orlando at the Orlando Science Center September 13-14. “We have had such great support from the Orlando community since we created TROBO. It will be great to show our product to people who have followed us since the beginning,” said Harden.

So how do two Central Florida fathers invent and prototype this amazing technology toy?
Scheinberg and Harden both have backgrounds in engineering and storytelling.

Jeremy Scheinberg was the Chief Operating Officer at Alcorn McBride, the leading manufacturer of audio, video and control products for themed entertainment with clients including NBC, Universal, Lego and Disney.

Chris Harden was a Development Director with EA Sports, managing the User Experience core technology group for the label and has a history in film and comics.

For more information visit www.HereComesTrobo.com

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HEROES WANTED! XPRIZE IS LAUNCHING A VIDEO CONTEST FOR 8- to 17-YEAR- OLDS TO FORM THE REAL-LIFE “BIG HERO 6″

XPRIZE has joined forces with Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Disney Corporate Citizenship for today’s launch of a nationwide video contest designed to find the real-life counterparts to the animated heroes that will soon burst onto the big screen in “BIG HERO 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure from Disney opening November 7, 2014.

The DISNEY BIG HERO 6 – XPRIZE CHALLENGE invites young people between the ages of 8 and 17 to harness their creativity and come up with innovative ideas to tackle the world’s biggest challenges using science, technology, engineering, art and/or mathematics.
The six winners, the real-life “Big Hero 6,” will travel to Los Angeles to walk the red carpet at the film’s Hollywood premiere in early November, go behind the scenes and meet the creative minds at both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, join a special “Visioneering™” experience at XPRIZE headquarters, plus other prizes.

Video Submissions will be judged on innovation, creativity and presentation. Twenty (20) finalists will be selected based on the highest scores resulting from preliminary scoring by XPRIZE judges. In mid October, a panel of luminary S.T.E.A.M. expert judges will evaluate the twenty finalists’ submissions and six (6) winners will be selected through a combination of the expert judges’ scores and public voting results.

Said Walt Disney Animation Studios President Ed Catmull, “We are thrilled to work with XPRIZE to find real-life young heroes whose desire is to tackle the world’s great challenges. It’s an honor for all of us at Walt Disney Animation Studios to welcome them at our Studio and at the premiere of “Big Hero 6.”

“The young people who win this contest will be real-world heroes, ready and willing to tackle some of the greatest challenges facing our world today,” said Trish Halamandaris, senior vice president marketing & communications at XPRIZE. “The XPRIZE Foundation is excited to be conducting this competition that challenges young people to be bold, creative and smart, and to dare to think big. We believe that solutions to the problems facing humanity can come from anyone, anywhere, and one of these kids just might come up with an idea that can truly change the world.”

In addition to the trip to Los Angeles, the six winners will receive reimbursement for one (1) Contestant registration for FIRST® LEGO® League for the competition season 2014-2015 in the US or Canada, and a Special littleBits® NASA Space Kit and cloudBit™ Starter Kit.

The contest is open for submissions from September 17, 2014, to October 12, 2014.

Participating kids will compete in two divisions: Junior Division (8-12 years of age), and Senior Division (13–17 years of age). All entrants must have prior consent from their parent or legal guardian in order to participate in the challenge. Registration details are available at xprizechallenge.org/bighero6.

The video submissions may involve a short story, sculpture, drawing, model, robot or whatever method best communicates the idea in the most creative way (please see Official Rules for further details, restrictions and limitations). They will be scored on how well they explain the problem, show their solution, and explain what they learned and the impact their idea would have on themselves and the world. The more creative and engaging their presentation is, the better their chance of winning.

Supporting XPRIZE Partners include FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), littleBits Electronics and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Challenge registration and video submissions start September 17, 2014, and end October 12, 2014. Public Voting will start October 15, 2014 and end October 19, 2014. Open to legal residents of US and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are ages 8 through 17 before September 17, 2014. Parental consent is required. Travel must occur on November 2-6, 2014 (or such other dates designated by Sponsor). For details, restrictions, and limitations and to enter, please visit Official Rules at: xprizechallenge.org/bighero6. Sole Sponsor: XPRIZE.
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$40 robot has a shot at Kickstarter crowdfunding

Robotics company, Microbric has done the impossible by developing Edison a small
robot with an amazing array of sensors for under $40, making it the most affordable educational robot in the market. Edison was launched today on Kickstarter. This small yet feature packed robot is set to revolutionise how robotics and programming are taught in schools thanks to its easy to use drag and drop programming software, modular design and intelligent sensors that react to light, sound and remote commands. Its unique design and compatibility with LEGO products lends itself to creativity – the seed of fun robotics to inspire the inventors of tomorrow.

Edison was created to make robotics more accessible to students and hobbyists alike and is the brainchild of Brenton O’Brien, himself an electronics engineer with a passion for robotics. For over 10 years his company, Microbric, has been creating educational robots for hobbyists but his dedication to bringing robotics into mainstream education paid off when the Australian Curriculum changed in January to specifically include robotics within the Digital and Design streams.

‘I realised that my goal was within reach but that the main obstacle to bringing robotics into every classroom was the cost of buying kits for schools with already tight budgets. So I created Edison with the functionality of a much more expensive robot, at a fraction of the price,‘ Brenton said.

But, whilst Brenton’s dream may be within reach, it’s still not a reality until the funding goal on Kickstarter is met and the capital is raised to manufacture Edisons en masse.

Microbric’s Edison Kickstarter campaign seeks to raise $20,000 in 30 days via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter. If they meet their goal, the funds raised will foot the manufacturing bill of an initial production run of robots, which will then be sent to backers wherever they are in the world. If you’re interested in supporting Microbric’s campaign, visit the Meet Edison Kickstarter page. If you want to follow the journey of Edison from idea to reality, track the project’s progress on Facebook, Google+ and the Edison website (www.meetedison.com).

Crowdfunding is an increasing trend in fund raising for new initiatives. It involves the collection of finance from backers to fund a project. Crowdfunding is expected to completely transform venture capital over the next decade.

“We are launching Edison on Kickstarter because we wanted to give people the chance to be part of something that will change the way our children learn about robotics in mainstream education,’ Brenton said

“Now, every child in Australia can learn about robotics and the importance of technology to their future careers. I’m really excited about this launch and hope that parents and teachers alike will back Edison.’

Microbric is a small Adelaide based company which has worked with the Adelaide Advertiser newspaper in producing two collectable robots and initially selling its robots through Dick Smith Electronics. Now, creating all types of robots for over 10 years nearly 100,000 Microbric robots have been manufactured and sold in Australia and overseas. Microbric anticipates that Edison will be its most successful robot yet.

http://www.meetedison.com

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BlocksCAD Teaches Children Math and Programming while they Design their Own Toys

Have you ever discovered that you can’t find the exact toy your child wants? Your daughter loves robots, but she wants them to be pink. Your son wants a length of track for his race car set that doesn’t exist. Your nephew loves elephants and wants his own My Little Elephant set.
You could find someone with a 3D printer and a good grasp of CAD to design a novel toy for you.

But why do that when you can let creative children do it themselves?

BlocksCAD, a new application  developed by Einstein’s Workshop, helps children as young as eight to design and create their own toys.
Einstein’s Workshop launched a Kickstarter campaign on September 6, 2014, to fund further development and release it under an open source license, free to everyone, everywhere.

BlocksCAD uses a simple drag-and-drop interface to create designs for 3D objects. It offers basic geometric shapes: cube, sphere, cylinder, cone, etc. Kids can combine these shapes to create their own unique toys. They assemble the building blocks of the object, like snapping together LEGO or assembling a jigsaw puzzle. The interface is so simple, even third-graders can use it.

Students have used BlocksCAD to create a wide range of objects, from doll furniture to Daleks, snowmen to strategy game pieces, rings to rocket ships. Annie, 10, is designing a table. She opens BlocksCAD and selects a rectangular block, thin and flat, to form the tabletop. She drags in another rectangular solid and makes it long and skinny – a table leg. Then she copies the leg three times and positions them to support the table. She saves her design and sends it off to a nearby 3D printer. Soon, the table is finished, three inches tall, just right for her dollhouse. She turns back to the computer and begins to design a chair.

Einstein’s Workshop, a STEM education startup in Burlington, MA, developed BlocksCAD to address a specific need. “We were seeing a lot of demand for 3D printing classes for younger children,” says Rebecca Rapoport, COO and co-owner of Einstein’s Workshop. “When we tried it out, we found that kids younger than fifth or sixth grade really struggled.
“On our staff, we have some talented developers who are also educators and experienced fabricators. So when we saw a need for software that’s easy for younger students to use, we did exactly what we encourage our students to do: we built it ourselves.”

“It’s a wonderful way to teach the practical side of math,” says Creative Director Katy Hamilton. “We can tell students that variables are useful, or how to describe a parabola, or we can give them real, concrete reasons to learn these concepts.”
The development team think BlocksCAD could be useful in schools and makerspaces everywhere.
“That’s one of the reasons we chose to do a Kickstarter,” says Henry Houh, president and founder of Einstein’s Workshop. “Not just to raise funds to make this application even better but also to get the word out that it’s going to be open source and freely available to the public.”

Einstein’s Workshop hopes to raise at least $42,000 by October 4, 2014. They offer a wide range of rewards to contributors, from T-shirts and 3D-printed models of the BlocksCAD mascot, The Blockhead, to a training class anywhere in the continental U.S. To support BlocksCAD, please visit the Kickstarter page at http://www.einsteinsworkshop.com/blockscad

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Pictures from VEX Robotics World Championship 2014, Anaheim

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Pictures from RoboCup German Open 2014

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