Menacing walker teaches kids to build robots
TheZeGoBeast Electric is a large, mean-looking built-it-yourself walkingrobot that's designed to be as simple to build as possible, withstep-by-step guides available both digitally and in paper form. The team hopes that the new DIY walker will become a tool for learning about programming and electronics.
The new project is actuallysecond effort from the team, which delivered on a successfully fundedcampaign last year. Thatfirst Kickstarter effort was for the ZeGoBeast Classic, a similarlooking mechanical walking robot that you could wind up to propel itforward. That bot, which was delivered to backers ahead ofschedule, helped the team to confirm that the kinematic legs –which are used in the new robot as well – worked as intended, andhelped to work out the kinks in the laser cutting manufacturingprocess.
The ZeGoBeast Electric comes as a daunting-looking flat-packbundle of wood and electronics that you have to put togetheryourself, but the process is handled via lesson plans and videos, andyou can even get physical copies of the instructions, making iteasier to teach someone else, such as your kid, how to build therobot.
"We'llbe providing lots of documentation, " the project's creators toldGizmag. "Our goal is to make it similar in difficulty to Lego, butmuch more easily modifiable/hackable and not limit the potential ofwhat people want to do with it."
Puttingaside its slightly nightmarish looks, the robot is designed to bepretty functional. It comes with an Arduino core, line-following sensors,photosensors, motion detectors, an ultrasonic range finder and anaccelerometer and gyroscope.
What you can actually make the robot do islargely down to the imagination of the user (as well as which versionof the product they pick up), with the creators suggesting everythingfrom fetching your slippers in the morning, scurrying away frombright lights, or using two or more of the robots to play games.
Thereare numerous versions of the ZeGoBeast up for grabs on the Kickstarterpage, starting with the 'Hatchling' variation with a central, box-like, sensor-filled body and a set of legs. As thepledge levels rise, that basic core kit comes with extras such asa tail and grippers for the front of the robot.
There's even anoption that includes a small Android tablet for the front of the robot. Thetablet screen displays a set of eyes, enhancing the sense that therobot is a living thing, and opens up interesting possibilities forthe kit, such as a first-person view point and voice commands.
TheKickstarter crowdfunding project is looking to raise US$50,000 to bring the ZeGoBeast Electric to life. Pledges start at $199 for the Hatchling versions, complete with sensors and legs, and go all the way up to $499, which comes with grippers, a tail, a silly string shooter, a radio remote control and the aforementioned Android tablet.
If all goes to plan, kits will start shipping to backers in August. After the campaign has concluded, the creators plan to sell modules through a product store, which will also provide access to the digital files for thedifferent attachments, giving handy users a chance to build their ownversions at home.