Building a small robot these days is far easier than it used to be, thanks in part to the introduction of products like LEGO Mindstorms and the Vex Robotics Design System. But what if you’re looking for something even simpler to construct, or perhaps you want to introduce robotics to a young child? A new robotics product dubbed roBlocks may be just what you’re looking for.
And I do mean simple: There aren’t any gears, sensors, tiny plastic pieces, or other microscopic bits or geegaws you have to fiddle with to contruct a functional robot. Using a variety of actuator, sensor, and operator blocks, roBlocks claims that you can simply snap them together to create simple robots. Each block is a 40mm cube, and magnets help the blocks snap together easily.
According to the roBlocks Web site, the product began as a research project led by PhD candidate Eric Schweikardt and Professor Mark D. Gross at Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV recently aired a story which shows the roBlocks in action, and also provides some additional background info on the project from the CMU team that developed the roBlocks system.
The roBlocks Web site indicates that the product will be available for sale in December 2008, and pricing wasn’t yet available.
(Photo:© roBlocks Source: roBlocks) [- Jeff James]