Build Your Own Robot

December 3, 2013 Updated: December 3, 2013

Robotics and artificial intelligence now play a leading role in everyday life. Domestic robots for basic household chores have already invaded many American homes, and television shows such as “Robot Wars,” have intrigued would-be hobbyists—but the technology has been inaccessible on a large scale.

Colorado-based Modular Robotics has made building custom robots easier.

It’s MOSS robot-building system requires no wiring or coding skills. It can be considered one of the most significant trends in the simplification of robotics.

It is also affordable, starting at $59 for a basic kit, with models available at various prices up to $949. Pre-order is available until December 11 on a first come, first served basis with deliveries expected for February next year. 

The ‘MOSS’ kit comes with cube-shaped modules in a variety of shapes and sizes. The modules are made of plastic and can be connected to each other through ball bearings, which use neodymium rare earth magnets.

Distinct color coding helps users identify how to connect the modules for various custom features. At the click of a button, the modules can also communicate with each other and provide everything from sensors to Bluetooth connectivity and, of course, the flashing lights.

The kit also comes with a battery that can be recharged via a micro-USB cable.

The company is developing an app to control the robots using tablets or smartphones. Simplicity of use makes it attractive to people of all age groups. The company suggests the basic product for anyone over 8 years old, but it also sells robotic “cubelets” for anyone over 4 years old.

The Modular Robotics website describes the cubelets: “Cubelets are magnetic blocks that can be snapped together to make an endless variety of robots with no programming and no wires. You can build robots that drive around on a tabletop, respond to light, sound, and temperature, and have surprisingly lifelike behavior.”

Kids and hobbyists could find the MOSS kit intriguing, as it offers freedom of creativity and design.

MOSS is featured on crowdfunding website Kickstarter and the contributions from excited investors have nearly tripled its original goal of $100,000 with a week more to go. Investors in the project can get their hands on anything from a company T-shirt to the robot-builder models to a tour of the manufacturing facilities.


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