DFRobot Announces Vortex – A First of its Kind, Intelligent and Responsive Robot Toy

New York—July 9, 2015—Robotics and open source hardware provider DFRobot today announces their new interactive toy, the Vortex robot. Designed to teach, empower and entertain children in an interactive robotics environment, DFRobot today also launched its Kickstarter campaign to raise $50,000 for continued product development. 

Combatting the trend of over-reliance on virtual games and screen time while transforming the robotic toy, DFRobot’s Vortex allows children to combine physical and virtual play. Children can interact with their toy robot while also programming and inventing their own commands and games, all via their smartphone or tablet.

Vortex has the following standout features:

  • Ready for Action—The Vortex robot and apps are fully functional right out of the box. Simply pair the robot with each child’s personal phone or tablet (compatible with both iOS and Android) via Bluetooth, and it’s ready to run. Children maneuver the Vortex by simply tapping their device’s screen to initiate commands
  • Infinite Programming Possibilities—Vortex presents infinite possibilities to create and play new games. It’s compatible with highly customizable open source hardware platform, Arduino, as well as with programming language Scratch. The Vortex robot can navigate obstacles, detect lines and report back by using infrared, grey scale and sound speakers. Easy to use, Vortex makes a child’s introduction to programming fully accessible and understandable and will be a great teaching resource for classrooms, making complex programming and coding easier for children to understand and practice
  • Customizable Games—Children have endless opportunities to create their own games and can also play the pre-programmed, free games including: Bumping Fight, Virtual Golf, Driving and Robot Soccer. Each game allows children to compete against their friends, parents or the robot AI. All games are designed to be both intuitive and customizable, as the child creates their own play experience

“We’re transforming the household into part robotics lab, part playground,” said Ricky Ye, CEO, DFRobot. “We fully believe in the philosophy of learning through play. With our robot, which offers an immersive programming experience, children can learn to code while having genuine fun. Our mission is to bridge the gap between toys and education–particularly STEM education–as technology-driven skills are more important than ever.”

Vortex’s pre-programmed games are designed to be fun and intuitive. Bumping Fight serves as a pushing match between two players to force others from the arena, while Virtual Golf allows children to direct the robot towards a target, while controlling the power of their shots. In addition, Driving allows children to use their device as a remote control to drive their Vortex forward, backwards, right or left around a track, and with Robot Soccer, children can play a match with anywhere from 2-22 players.

DFRobot’s Vortex is suggested for children ages six and up. By supporting the Kickstarter campaign, backers can pre-order the Vortex robot two-pack for $119 with their contributions. Robots will ship to consumers in fall, 2015.

About DFRobot

 DFRobot is a robotics and open source hardware provider that is dedicated to creating innovative, user-friendly products that foster a strong community of learning. DFRobot collaborates with multiple tech giants including Intel and Microsoft and has a product catalog boasting over 1,000 components and widgets including sensors, robotic platforms, communication modules and 3D printers. DFRobot is one of the early evangelists of the Maker Movement and strongly supports greater access to the maker culture.

DFRobot’s new product, Vortex is an intelligent and responsive robot that will enable children to learn, play and program. Vortex will bring together robotics with digital games through fun and interactive apps that allow children to explore, program their own games and solve problems.

DFRobot is headquartered in Shanghai, China. For more information visit www.dfrobot.com.

ePawn Launches Its Connected Board for Gamers on Kickstarter

NEW YORK, July 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ —

The French startup ePawn launches ePawn Arena, a revolutionary board that interfaces with smartphones, tablets or PCs, to allow gamers to use real world game pieces with their online and mobile devices.

To view the Multimedia News Release, please click:


Leveraging ePawn’s patented object-tracking technology, ePawn Arena bridges real and virtual gaming by bringing back the simple thrill of real touch feeling and breathing life into mobile game pieces and smart robot-toys.

Designed to support numerous games, like a game console, ePawn Arena comes with action games where smartphones drive the toys,  a chess game where gamers play online with real game pieces magically moving on their own and strategy games with beautiful and interactive miniatures.

ePawn Arena is ready to get new content and the free Software Development Kit (SDK) makes it easy for game developers and hackers to integrate ePawn Arena into both new and existing games.

„ePawn Arena’s unique capabilities take the gaming experience to a whole new level of fun and creativity,“ said Christophe Duteil, co-founder and CEO of ePawn. „Additionally, we have created an open platform such that anyone can create new content in various domains, such as gaming, robotics, new user interfaces, and so on.“

ePawn Arena, the connected board for gamers, is live on Kickstarter at :


BumbleBeeBot is now BombiniBot

I just received this message from the OpenElectrons Team:

We had to change the name of the BumbleBeeBot … the new name is BombiniBot.

We are changing the texts on the project page to that effect, but in some places it just can not be changed.

This change could be confusing for a while, but be aware, the new name is „BombiniBot“.



BumbleBeeBot – for Teaching Robotics and Programming to Kids

OpenElectrons have started a Kickstarter Campaign for an Arduino based robot called BumbleBeeBot to teach programming and robotics to young kids.
OpenElectrons is the affiliate of mindsensors.com, which makes sensors and controllers for LEGO Mindstorms.

BumbleBeeBot is a low cost kit with progressively complex programming environments.
For the younger audience, the bot uses Scratch like graphical programming environment.
Scratch is already widely adopted in schools and makes programming easy for children.
Growing students can then transition to miniBloq which is graphical programming interfacing to Arduino.
At advance level, students can directly program in Arduino IDE using C/C++.

The BumbleBeeBot has gone through pilot programs in schools and afterschool robotics classes in
Richmond, Virginia, and now they’re seeking funding for production.

#BumblebeeBot for Teaching #Robotics and #Programming to Kids:

Short News: VEX IQ User Guide, Build Instructions & Build Tips Poster

This might be interesting especially for all the teachers here: Now you are able to buy additional copies of Building Instructions and User Guides–> for a really good price. No more need to use the copier before class!


Game-Changer: First 3D Printed, Educational Robot Launches on Kickstarter

Seattle, WA – SociallyShaped, an educational robotics company, is pleased to announce the first, advanced, 3D printed, customizable robot that teaches electronics, programming, and 3D design. Named Roby, this amazingly versatile robot has a full on-board computer and programming software designed to teach children the basics of programming. The first robot of it’s kind, Roby provides the platform needed to excel in many areas of technology.

The mission of SociallyShaped is to improve access to technical skills, and empower anyone to become innovators in the technology industry. You can become part of SociallyShaped’s community and mission by visiting https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/758562141/3d-printed-educational-robotic-platform

SociallyShaped is an educational robotics company, which encourages learning and entrepreneurialism for children and adults alike. SociallyShaped was founded by John Villwock, MBA (Cornell), Mikhail Stolpner, MBA (Cornell), and Aubra Taylor, MA in Seattle, WA. Combined, they have extensive experience in child development, technical innovation, programming, business management, 3D printing, and electrical engineering.

Reimagined ‘Robot Repair’ Art Installation planned for Pittsburgh International Airport

PITTSBURGH, April 29, 2015 – After a 2 year hiatus, Artist Toby Atticus Fraley has announced plans to bring back the popular public art installation Robot Repair, reimagined for Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).

Fraley today announced the launch of a website, www.pitrobotrepair.com, and Kickstarter crowd funding campaign to raise money for the installation. Fraley must raise $10,000 thousand between May 19 to June 17, 2015 in order to fund the project. Individuals who donate, or backers, of the project will receive tokens like stickers, pins, signed prints, or even an art piece from Fraley’s previous installation.

The artist says the Allegheny County Airport Authority is supplying the space at no charge on a temporary basis, but public support is necessary for the creation of this new piece of artwork.

“While Pittsburgh International Airport has shown a commitment to public art and featuring regional artists, there currently aren’t funds available for additional projects,” Fraley said. “However, the temporary vacancy of the space provides an opportunity to showcase regional projects to visitors from across the country and across the globe.”

The PIT installation will be three times larger than Fraley’s original Downtown Pittsburgh site. Situated in Concourse A near Southwest Airline’s busiest gate, A15, construction is slated for July with an opening scheduled for late August or early September 2015.

Fraley added, “While visitors may recognize a few components of the original installation, this will be an entirely new work. I hope plans for non-ticketed individuals to access the airside terminal of PIT come to fruition allowing the general public to see the project first hand.”

The original installation was part of Project Pop Up Pittsburgh, a collaboration between the mayor’s office, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, Department of City Planning, and Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership to fill vacant storefronts with start-up businesses, art installations, or performances as a means to attract permanent tenants. After an 18 month run in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, Fraley’s Robot Repair and the adjacent vacant restaurant later became the restaurant Butcher in the Rye.

“The response to the Downtown location of Fraley’s Robot Repair was overwhelmingly positive from daily commuters, occasional visitors, and even out-of-towners who,,” said Fraley, who received the 2012 Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and City of Pittsburgh ‘Mayor’s Award for Public Art’ for the project. “I still hear from people asking me to bring it back and I’m excited to do so in partnership with Pittsburgh International.”

“The Allegheny County Airport Authority is pleased to support Mr. Fraley’s fundraising efforts and offer a new space for The Robot Repair Shop as part of the expanding Art in the Airport program at Pittsburgh International Airport,” said Richard Belotti, Vice President of Planning. “We know that the original installation in Downtown Pittsburgh was very successful, and we are delighted that millions of travelers each year will once again be able to experience this unique and playful piece.”

Toby Atticus Fraley is an artist born in Washington, PA in 1977. Currently, he lives in Bridgeville, PA where he maintains a studio as a full time artist. His work consists of mixed media sculpture, public art pieces, electronic/interactive sculptures, and Americana themed oil paintings. Toby’s most recent project, The Artwork Forge was just shown in Scottsdale AZ, commissioned by Scottsdale Public Art and Arizona State University. Recent exhibitions featuring his work include The Pittsburgh Biennial, Art in Odd Places: Indianapolis, SOFA in Chicago (Represented by the Pittsburgh Glass Center) and a solo show at SPACE gallery in Pittsburgh entitled, The Secret Life of Robots.

RoboSnap – Vision for your Robot

Truckee, CA, May 22, 2015 – 10 Imaging Inc. launched their debut product on Kickstarter, RoboSnap.  RoboSnap provides “Vision for Your Robot”, by detecting objects in the environment by their color, location, shape and size.  The creator of RoboSnap, Shari Vedovato says, “We created RoboSnap to add a new dimension to your robot to allow it to have more understanding of the environment and be more autonomous.”

RoboSnap currently works on the LEGO® Mindstorms EV3 as well as the Raspberry Pi with the BrickPi add-on board.


Not only can RoboSnap add vision to your robot, it can be programmed with Snap!, a Scratch extension or with the Python and C programming languages.  Shari says, “We provide many choices to program RoboSnap in order to support our youngest customers to our most experienced.  We received a lot of positive feedback about the ability to program the EV3 with Snap! at our demonstrations at the San Mateo Maker Faire.  Many kids are learning Scratch at school and it is comfortable for them to continue to program with this language as they move into robotics.”  Kickstarter backers can select to receive the “JUST THE SOFTWARE”  reward if they are interested in programming their robots with Snap! on the EV3.

Riley Breuner, a high school student who recently competed in the FIRST Robotics League competition said, “It’s great that there’s a new sensor that can detect colors accurately and reliably. It’s almost impossible to use the existing Lego sensors because you can run the same program and get different results or it just detects the wrong color. RoboSnap is a much better option.“  Shari agreed, “When watching the recent FIRST LEGO League missions I noticed that it was difficult for the robots to perform the ‘Search Engine’ mission in one pass.  It was necessary to use the ‘eyes’ of the players to determine the color.   We have shown that RoboSnap can do this mission in a single pass.  Although RoboSnap is not currently sanctioned to be part of the FIRST LEGO League competition, we are working on having it accepted.”


RoboSnap will be available exclusively on Kickstarter from May 13 to June 12, 2015 with the first shipments of RoboSnap cameras in October 2015.



MyoWare™ | Harness the power of your muscle signals!

Raleigh, NC, May 13, 2015 – The bionics wizards at Advancer Technologies just released their fourth generation muscle sensor, the MyoWare. This new Arduino-compatible and wearable sensor harnesses the power of your muscles to control robots, video games, prosthesis, and much more. To show off the power of the MyoWare, these mad scientists have built two amazing projects, the Bionic Iron Man Glove and the 3D Printed Wolverine Claws, and are publishing the steps to build them for free online. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/312488939/myowaretm-harness-the-power-of-your-muscle-signals

Maker Faire Hannover 2015

Mit offenen Mündern staunen, mit leuchtenden Augen ausprobieren: Am 6. und 7. Juni verwandelt sich das hannoversche Congress Centrum zum dritten Mal in ein Mekka der Selbermacher und zieht wieder Groß und Klein in den Bann. Dann nämlich findet in der Niedersachsen- und Eilenriedehalle sowie dem idyllischen Stadtpark die Maker Faire statt, die sich als buntes Kreativfestival für die ganze Familie einen Namen gemacht hat.

Technikbegeisterte, Tüftler, Bastler, Erfinder und Do-it-Yourself-Künstler zeigen auf der Maker faire ihre Ideen und Projekte. Von originell bis skurril ist alles dabei.

Ob Roboterbau, Arudino-Basteleien, Steampunk, 3D-Druck oder klassisches Handwerk: Alle Aussteller zeigen, wie kreativ man mit Technik und unterschiedlichen Materialien umgehen kann, wie man Bauteile originell sowie nachhaltig recycelt und welchen Spaß man beim Tüfteln haben kann. Das Mitmachen und Ausprobieren steht eindeutig im Vordergrund.

Neben den vielen Exponaten werden etliche Mitmachworkshops für große und kleine Besucher , unter anderem Löten, Drechseln, Sägen, Schweißen, Schmieden, angeboten. Vorträge über alle Facetten der wachsenden Selbermachkultur runden das Angebot am ersten Juni-Wochenende ab.

Als besonderes Highlight wird der Performance-Künstler Lyle Rowell seinen feuerspeienden Roboter-Hund präsentieren. Der Gigant aus Motorrad- und Autoteilen ist ein beeindruckendes Stück „Do-it-yourself“-Technik und ein starkes Foto-Motiv.

Mit LRRY-1, den man „Larry“ ausspricht, sieht halb aus wie ein riesiger Roboter-Hund, halb wie ein mechanischer Saurier. Der feuerspeiende Roboter besteht aus Teilen alter Motorräder und Autoschrott, ein reparierter Citroën-Motor erweckt ihn zum Leben. Der Clou: Sein aus einem Getriebekasten gefertigter Kopf gibt auf Kommando Feuerstöße ab. Als Baumaterial dienten unter anderem die Hinterachse eines VW-Käfers, der Rahmen eines BMW-Motorrades und die Linsen eines Radargerätes für die Augen. Ein Sattel auf dem Rücken ist die Kommandozentrale, von der aus man die Kreatur steuert. Die Teile für die laufende Tier-Maschine hat ihr Konstrukteur Lyle Rowell fast alle selbst gefunden: vier Monate hat er dafür gebraucht, seine Wunschteile vom Schrottplatz zu retten und zusammenzusetzen.

Tagestickets für die Maker Faire gibt es ab 11 Euro im Online-Shop oder an der Tageskasse. Weitere Infos unter makerfairehannover.de.