More and more robots are coming out of 3D printers. This is good for both robots and 3D printers, because it makes robots cheaper and more accessible, and 3D printing gets more attention. In fact, the new Mobot kit from Barobo is so affordable that you can buy it AND a 3D printer (to print its body) for less than the cost of buying most robots.
The Mobot was designed at UC Davis to be an educational and research tool for students in middle school, high school, and college. Though simple enough for middle schoolers to operate, the Mobot is no simpleton of a robot; it’s incredibly robust. Since it’s modular, several Mobots can be combined via plates to form more complex and dexterous robots. Additional components, like wheels and grippers, can be connected that increase the Mobot’s mobility and tactile functionality. They can even handle making your morning cup of joe.
Mobots are completely customizable, both in their programming and their printed physicality, and they can be equipped with sensors that allow them to be aware of their surroundings; normally they’re controlled wirelessly through bluetooth. Hands-on education is very effective for many students, and fun education is effective for everyone.
Graham Ryland, Co-founder of Barobo Incorporated said “We’re breaking from traditional business models and relying on our users to, not just assemble the robot, but play an active role in manufacturing the plastic parts. We’ve proven the technology in the classroom and want to get it into students’ hands as quickly and cheaply as possible. Relying on customers to manufacture their own plastic parts wasn’t an option just a few years ago, but 3D printing technology has made this new way of rolling out an educational product possible… As 3D printers become more and more commonplace in the classroom there’s a need for engaging projects and curriculum to tie this powerful tool into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects.”
I see Mobots, as well as 3D printing, having a very positive impact on the modern classroom. If you’d like a kit (printed body not included), they’re available for $135.95.