Alexabot: Amazon Alexa Controlled Robot With the Raspberry Pi

bionicTOYS Launches Flexible Building Bricks on Kickstarter

bionicTOYS Launches Flexible Building Bricks on Kickstarter An Award-Winning Design That Turns Child’s Play Into STEM Learning

BERLIN, November 29, 2016 — Inspired by nature’s own flexibility, bionicTOYS has launched its first collection exclusively on Kickstarter. These highly-elastic building bricks let children and adults explore the art and science of motion through play.


bionicTOYS was created by German product designer Marcel Pasternak as a way to introduce important STEM-based skills to children. Through creative building, they are able to replicate organic actions found in nature and learn about bionics, mechanics, potential energy and other important principles of physics. The patent-pending flex-brick design allows for inventive, multi-functional play that can also interact with existing building bricks, such as LEGO® Technic or TinkerBots®.

With its Kickstarter launch, bionicTOYS is reimagining construction-based play. “It’s quite handy because you can just bend it in all directions,” says 13-year-old Felix. Its colorful design and easy-to-construct sets allow school-age children, parents, teachers, LEGO® fans, and design enthusiasts to explore a great range of creative possibilities.

About bionicTOYS bionicTOYS was created by 29-year-old Marcel Pasternak as part of his master’s thesis in product design. It has quickly developed into an educational toy company that has won the Green Product Award (Kids category), the Marianne Brandt Award – Material Effects (Product category) and is one of the winners of DMY ́s New Talent Award.

Link to Kickstarter

A Robot Arm for the Rest of Us

Slant Concepts is creating a robot arm that anyone can use.

Robot arms have been doing redundant tasks in manufacturing for nearly 70 years. These hundred thousand dollar behemoths manage assembly lines and pack boxes. But they only exist on the assembly-line. Why aren’t they in the home cleaning counters, feeding the pet, and prepping breakfast.

The main reason for this situation is that they are difficult to use. Th industrial arms in factories require skilled engineers or tradesmen to get working. They are also incredibly expensive. But a company named, Slant Concepts, is changing that with the ShopArm.

The ShopArm is a 3D printed robot arm that makers can build and the rest of us can just use. The ShopArm is meant to be used to perform some of the repetitive tasks in our lives.

The ShopArm currently can be trained to do anything it is physically capable of, by using a common PC. The ShopArm software lets the user select waypoints for the arm to move to. Just click on a place on the virtual workspace where you want the arm to go and it will move there. Then you can record a series of these to have the arm put bread in a toaster and start it.

Another way that Slant has created to train the ShopArm is with a camera. All anyone has to do is hold a green colored tracking marker over a camera on the end of the arm. Then arm will then follow the marker around and record the movements

Eventually, users of the arm will be able to bring it into their home, show it what they want done and then just leave it. They might train it to start the toast every morning at 7:00 AM or feed the pet on a regular basis. But the real value of the arm is in performing one-off repetitive tasks. Train it to decorate a Christmas cookie then have it do that 100 more times.

Slant is running the Kickstarter in order to continue developing the project to full implementation by normal consumers.

About Slant Concepts: Slant Concepts is a product design company based in Boise, ID. Slant was founded in 2014 as a product consultancy and micro-manufacturer. After completing numerous projects for client over its first two years, in 2016 Slant focused entirely on robotics and dedicated itself to producing internally developed products for the home, school and business.

Two Bit Circus Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New Maker Kit That Combines ART and STEM to Inspire Creativity in Young Inventors

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two Bit Circus, an engineering entertainment company, today released a new survey report highlighting the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)-based activities for children, revealing art as the key entry point to STEM, especially for girls.

Two Bit Circus recently surveyed an audience of more than 500 parents to understand gender differentiators in how children play and learn in relation to STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities. The report uncovers key insights on children’s educational interests and preferences for extracurricular activities and also shows a lack of awareness for STEM/STEAM in general. In fact, 47 percent of parents are unfamiliar with STEM/STEAM toys such as chemistry sets, microscopes, Arduinos, etc. And surprisingly both boys and girls share similar levels of interest in science and math in school, but girls are far more likely to prefer arts and crafts inside and outside of school than boys. This points to why there has been such a strong push for STEAM in order to help close the gender gap in STEM.

Additional key findings from the STEM vs. STEAM: The Gender Gap report include:

  • Parents of both male and female children equally report that their child’s favorite STEAM subject in school is either math (26%) or science (30%)
  • 41% of parents with boys say their child shows the most interest in technology/computing activities outside of school compared to only 18% of parents with girls
  • 45% of parents with girls report their child shows the most interest in art outside of school compared to only 10% of parents with boys
  • 62% of parents say that their child never participates in STEM extracurricular activities outside of school

To drive momentum for the STEAM movement and blend creativity, curiosity and critical thinking to inspire the next generation of inventors, Two Bit Circus is launching a Kickstarter campaign to support the creation of Oomiyu, a paper craft and technology kit. By allowing beginner inventors to build a fun, customized and interactive paper craft robotic owl, kids get hands-on experience with basic mechanical principles, electronics and programming that combined creates a unique STEAM experience. This maker kit is designed to bring art alive through creative innovation, combining art with STEM for a well-rounded and engaging creativity platform.

“Not only does Oomiyu foster a sense of excitement for STEAM by building creative confidence and curiosity in children, it also helps develop critical thinking skills and makes technology more appealing for creative and analytical thinkers alike,” said Two Bit Circus CEO and Co-founder, Brent Bushnell. “By creating this holistic STEAM-based kit, we hope to bring out the makers we know are hidden in every child.”

Oomiyu, a customizable platform, allows children to build, design, customize and program a paper creature to move, respond and emote to various stimuli. A companion mobile app and open source software extend the possibilities even further. Simple connectors make it easy to add new features and the included Arduino 101 packs powerful features like Bluetooth low-energy (enables easy connection to other devices and the internet) and machine learning (enables other pattern matching behaviors).

Also included in the maker kit are off-the-shelf components like LEDs, motors and paper patterns. The new Oomiyu maker kit offers a unique balance of design elements combined with more technical aspects of personalized programming for a craft that lives beautifully with technology.

This crowd-sourced funding campaign hopes to reach its goal of $72,921 USD* within the next 30 days, or about 500 units sold. The cost of Oomiyu is $150.

For more information about Oomiyu visit the Kickstarter campaign page.

About Two Bit Circus

Two Bit Circus is a location-based entertainment company creating the future of fun. The team of artists, inventors, educators and performers builds social games and experiences that aim to inspire, engage and reinvent the way people play. For more information, visit or follow @TwoBitCircus.

MakerCon 2017 – Die Konferenz für Maker und Unternehmen

*Hannover, 23. November 2016 – Vom 16. bis 18. Februar 2017 findet in Heidelberg die MakerCon <>statt. Die von Make-Magazin <> ,  heise Developer <> und dem zu Heise Medien gehörenden dpunkt.verlag <> organisierte Konferenz ist die erste ihrer Art im deutschsprachigen Raum. Unter dem Motto „From Maker to Market“ bringt sie Maker mit Unternehmen zusammen, zeigt aktuelle Ent­wick­lungen in der Maker-Bewegung und gibt Unter­nehmen wichtige Impulse, ihre Mitarbeiter kreativ zu fördern.*

*Von der Idee über die Technik bis hin zum Business:* Die dreitägige Veranstaltung, bestehend aus zwei Konferenztagen und einem Workshop-Tag bietet ein abwechslungsreiches Programm mit vielen praxisorientierten Vorträgen und Workshops. Erfahrene Maker berichten, wie sie ihr Projekt von der Idee über den Prototyp zum fertigen Produkt umgesetzt haben. Sie erzählen von der verwendeten Technik und den Prozessen, die schließlich zum Erfolg führten. Gleichzeitig sprechen sie auch offen von ihren Rückschlägen, wie man aus Fehlern lernen und Pannen vermeiden kann. Organisatorische und rechtliche Aspekte werden in den Vorträgen ebenfalls angesprochen.

Mit *Dale Dougherty*, „Vater“ der Can-do-People und Gründer des amerikanischen Make-Magazins, und *Mario Lukas*, Informatiker und deutsche Maker-Ikone, konnten die Veranstalter zwei prominente Keynote-Sprecher gewinnen.

*Zielgruppe der MakerCon* sind zum einen ambitionierte *Maker*, die Kontakte zu Gleichgesinnten, Unternehmen und Dienstleistern suchen, Leute, die *MakerSpaces* oder *FabLabs* organisieren, Maker, die ihr Projekt professionalisieren wollen und *Maker-Communities*. Zum anderen werden *Start-ups* aus dem Maker-Umfeld, *Innovations- und Technik­beauf­trag­te von Unternehmen* und Anbieter von *Dienstleistungen im Maker-Bereich* Hardwarehersteller (Digital Fabrication, Halbleiterhersteller) angesprochen.

*Interessierte können sich ab sofort für die MakerCon anmelden <>.* Bis zum 2. Januar gilt dabei ein *Frühbucherrabatt:* Private Maker erhalten bis dahin Konferenztickets für 238 Euro Businesstickets kosten 892,50 Euro, der Preis für die Workshops beträgt 95,20 Euro.

Cozmo’s getting an upgrade

Neato Botvac™ Connected Now Works with Amazon Alexa

Neato extends leadership in the smart home, control your Botvac Connected through Alexa

 Newark, CA—November 22, 2016—Neato Robotics, leaders in smart robots for the home, today announced the award-winning Neato Botvac™ Connected is the first Neato robot vacuum that can be controlled via the Alexa voice service using devices like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.


“Neato’s innovation is a huge leap forward for the smart home. Alexa-enabled Botvac Connected advances Neato’s vision of SmartLife™ —where using the latest technology to make your life easier is the clear path to smart living,” said Giacomo Marini, Chairman and CEO of Neato Robotics.

The smart home is quickly catching on with consumers as many see the convenience of an intelligent connected device through which they can manage their home. For example, Alexa is able to assist users with everything from turning off lights to ordering a pizza. With the Neato Botvac Connected integration, Alexa can now voice-control the Neato robot vacuum. All it takes is a simple voice command – ‘Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning’ – and it’s done. Doing simple tasks is just the first step.

The possibilities are endless. Today, if the Neato Botvac Connected is already vacuuming your floors, and you get a phone call, just say ‘Alexa, ask Neato to pause cleaning’—and give a resume cleaning command once you are off the phone.  The combination of Neato and Alexa means you can keep doing what you are doing and voice command your Botvac Connected at the same time so it fits into your SmartLife.

 About Neato Botvac Connected

Neato’s first official collaboration with Amazon Alexa is now available. The Botvac Connected robot vacuum, which can be controlled via Alexa voice service, is the most powerful Neato robot to date. To take advantage of this new Alexa skill, launch the Alexa app on your smartphone and select Smart Home from the left hand navigation menu, Get More Smart Home Skills and search for ‘Neato’. A Neato Botvac Connected is required, as well as an Alexa-enabled device such as an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot.

Neato Botvac Connected includes the company’s patented Neato LaserSmart™ technology that combines laser scanning, continuous room mapping and real time object detection to plan the most efficient course to clean a home. This means Neato alters its navigation instantly when a new obstacle enters its path. Intelligent navigation, even in the dark, as it moves room to room, and knows when to return to its base for recharging — and then automatically goes back to where it left off to finish the job. The Neato robots’ iconic D-shape design and CornerClever™ technology allows it to get close to walls and deep into corners. With one of the largest brushes and dirt bins on the market, Neato covers more square footage and picks up more debris than any other robot vacuum.


All existing and new Botvac Connected customers will have access to the Amazon Alexa skill today in the US and in the coming weeks in the UK and later this year in Germany.

About Neato

Neato Robotics designs robots for the home to improve consumers’ lives, allowing them to spend less time doing household chores and more time on the things they love. Neato SmartLife™ is about the intersection of humans and robots in today’s digital world enabling consumers to get back the most valuable thing that exists: more time. Neato drives innovation with intelligent laser navigation, smart home connectivity, and superior cleaning technologies. For more information, visit:

iRobot CFO to Speak at NASDAQ 35th Investor Program

BEDFORD, Mass., Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in consumer home robotics products, today announced that Alison Dean, iRobot’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will discuss the company’s achievements and financial outlook on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at 6:30 a.m. ETat the NASDAQ 35th Investor Program being held in London.

iRobot logo

The presentation will be accessible live on iRobot’s investor relations website at and for 90 days thereafter.

About iRobot Corp.
iRobot designs and builds robots that empower people to do more. The company’s home robots help people find smarter ways to clean and accomplish more in their daily lives. iRobot’s portfolio of solutions features proprietary technologies for the connected home and advanced concepts in navigation, mobility and artificial intelligence. For more information about iRobot, please visit

Botvac Connected lässt sich per Sprachsteuerung durch Alexa kontrollieren

Newark, CA / München, 22. November 2016 – Neato Robotics, einer der weltweit innovativsten Hersteller von smarten Haushaltsrobotern, hat heute angekündigt, dass der mehrfach ausgezeichnete Neato Botvac™ Connected als erster Roboterstaubsauger von Neato jetzt auch mit der digitalen Sprachassistentin Alexa von Amazon gesteuert werden kann. Die Anweisungen werden über die stationären Lautsprecher Echo und Echo Dot ausgegeben.

„Die Innovationen von Neato lassen das Smart Home Realität werden. Der Botvac Connected mit Alexa-Unterstützung manifestiert unsere Vision des SmartLife™ – der Weg zum Smart Living führt über modernste Technologien, die das Leben einfacher machen sollen“, erklärt Giacomo Marini, Chairman und CEO von Neato Robotics.
Das Smart Home wird für Konsumenten ein immer relevanteres Thema, denn sie erkennen die Vorzüge intelligent vernetzter Geräte, mit denen sie ihr Zuhause verwalten können. Alexa zum Beispiel hilft dabei, auf Zuruf das Licht auszuschalten oder eine Pizza zu bestellen. Jetzt kann Alexa auch den Neato Botvac Connected per Sprachsteuerung dirigieren. Dafür braucht es nur einen Sprachbefehl wie „Alexa, sag Neato bitte, dass er mit dem Staubsaugen beginnen soll“ – und schon erledigt. Einfache Dinge zu tun, ist erst der Anfang.
Die Anwendungsmöglichkeiten sind unerschöpflich. Wenn der Neato Botvac Connected bereits am Saugen ist und das Telefon klingelt, reicht die Ansage „Alexa, bitte sag Neato, dass er eine Pause machen soll“ – nach dem Telefonat einfach wieder den Befehl zum Weitermachen geben. Das Zusammenspiel von Neato und Alexa macht es möglich, andere Dinge zu tun und gleichzeitig den Botvac Connected via Sprache zu steuern – und damit dem Ziel des SmartLife näher zu kommen.

Der Neato Botvac Connected
Die Unterstützung von Amazon Alexa ist sofort bei Neato verfügbar. Der via Alexa Sprachsteuerung kontrollierbare Botvac Connected ist der aktuell leistungsfähigste Roboterstaubsauger von Neato. Um die Vorteile der neuen Alexa Skill nutzen zu können, muss nur die Alexa App auf dem Smartphone gestartet werden. „Smart Home“ im Navigationsmenü auf der linken Seite auswählen, dann „Get More Smart Home Skills“ und anschließend „Neato“ suchen. Neben dem Neato Botvac Connected ist ein Alexa-fähiges Gerät wie Amazon Echo oder Echo Dot erforderlich.
Dank der patentierten LaserSmart™-Technologie scannt der Botvac Connected den Raum und teilt ihn in Reinigungsquadrate, um ihn anschließend systematisch zu reinigen. Auf diese Weise wird jeder Raum kartiert, sodass sämtliche Möbel, Durchgänge sowie Treppen von erfasst werden. Die Kombination aus Laser Scanning, Room Mapping sowie einer Echtzeit-Hinderniserkennung garantieren eine effiziente sowie gründliche Reinigung. Sollte sich dem Roboterstaubsauger plötzlich ein Hindernis in den Weg stellen, wird dieses anhand der Echtzeit-Raumerkennung sogar im Dunkeln erkannt und sofort umfahren. Gepaart mit der einzigartigen D-Form des Neato und der CornerClever™-Technologie wird das Kraftpaket zum unentbehrlichen Helfer im Haushalt. Durch sein Design gelangt er problemlos in alle Ecken des Raumes und fährt besonders nah an den Wänden entlang. Dank der extra großen Bürsten und des großen Schmutzbehälters schafft der Neato Botvac Connected in einem Reinigungszyklus mehr Quadratmeter als jeder andere Roboterstaubsauger.
Alle aktuellen und neuen Besitzer eines Botvac Connected haben Zugriff auf die Amazon Alexa Skill – in den USA und Großbritannien sofort und in Deutschland Ende des Jahres.

Über Neato Robotics:
Neato Robotics mit Sitz im Silicon Valley, Kalifornien, wurde 2009 mit dem Ziel gegründet, Roboter zu entwickeln, die Hausarbeit so intelligent wie Menschen erledigen. Neato arbeitet an der Verbesserung der Zeitersparnis der Verbraucher, sodass weniger Zeit für Reinigung und dafür mehr Zeit mit Familie und Freunden zur Verfügung steht. Mit seinen Staubsaugrobotern bietet Neato innovative Produkte, die intelligenter, leistungsfähiger und effektiver sind als andere auf dem Markt erhältliche Staubsaugroboter.
Weitere Informationen zu den neuen Modellen sowie zu weiteren Geräten der Neato-Familie erhalten Sie hier:

iRobot Acquires Japanese Distribution Business from Sales on Demand Corporation

BEDFORD, Mass., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a
leader in consumer home robotics products, today announced that it has signed
a definitive agreement to acquire the iRobot-related distribution business of
privately-held Sales On Demand Corporation (SODC) based in Tokyo, Japan. The
acquisition is expected to close in April 2017.

The acquisition will better enable iRobot to maintain its leadership position
and accelerate the growth of its business in Japan through direct control of
pre- and post-sales market activities including sales, marketing, branding,
channel relationships and customer service.

SODC has been iRobot’s exclusive distribution partner in Japan since 2004 and
is well respected by top channel partners. The SODC team has been instrumental
in establishing iRobot as the leading consumer robotics brand among Japanese
consumers and maintaining significant market share in an increasingly
competitive region.

Japan is a key strategic country for iRobot, given its status as the largest
consumer robotics market outside of North America. iRobot will appoint a new
president & general manager for Japan who will report directly to iRobot’s COO
Christian Cerda, and assume day-to-day operational responsibility for all
market activities in Japan.

„Forward integration in Japan is a strategic step for iRobot as a leading
global consumer technology company. The Japanese distribution model served us
well in establishing our initial presence and brand in the region, catapulting
iRobot to the market leading position. As the dynamics of the robotic floor
care segment evolve in Japan, we believe iRobot itself is better positioned to
drive increased adoption and continue market leadership in that region. We are
honored to have the SODC distribution team join the iRobot family as we take
the next step on our journey,“ said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot.

iRobot will acquire the business for a cash amount equal to the book value of
the acquired assets at close, primarily inventory, estimated to be between
$14M-$16M, subject to exchange rates in effect on the date of acquisition. The
acquisition is expected to contribute incremental revenue of approximately
$20-25 million in 2017 and to expand gross margin despite the required
one-time, inventory fair value accounting adjustment. On a GAAP basis, iRobot
expects the acquisition to be between $0.25-0.35 dilutive in 2017, subject to
final purchase price accounting adjustments, one time charges and acquisition
costs. The acquisition will result in incremental revenue, gross margin and
profit in 2018 and beyond. We will provide more information on the acquisition
impact on our financials in conjunction with our earnings call in February.

About iRobot Corp.
iRobot designs and builds robots that empower people to do more. The company’s
home robots help people find smarter ways to clean and accomplish more in
their daily lives. iRobot’s portfolio of solutions features proprietary
technologies for the connected home and advanced concepts in navigation,
mobility and artificial intelligence. For more information about iRobot,
please visit