The robotics buzz may be endless, but it’s rare to see cutting-edge technologies come to market in a meaningful way. While startup bots_alive is driven by robotics, artificial intelligence, computer vision, and augmented reality, the simplicity and fun of the product is what makes the biggest impression.
Many robotics products try to teach children to code, but bots_alive strives to inspire them. A deceptively simple kit turns remote-controlled Hexbug® Spiders into playful, smart, and autonomous creatures — and provides a cost effective way for kids have infectiously engaging STEM experiences.
Through hands-on, curiosity-driven play enabled by the bots_alive kit, the company aims to build the next generation’s passion for human-centered design, technology, engineering, and math. The kit includes a smartphone app, an IR blaster, and a set of vision blocks and markers.
To bring a bot to life, kids simply install the smartphone app and stick a marker on a Hexbug. Attaching vision blocks to ordinary objects around the house creates endlessly configurable obstacle courses for bots to navigate. Kids get the thrill of seeing their own robot scampering around, making autonomous decisions. One kit can power two bots, enabling them to “fight” or otherwise interact. Meanwhile, kids get to see the world as the bots see it right on their phones.
It all started with the desire to develop simple, animal-like robots that seem more alive than any machine you’ve ever interacted with. The app monitors bots using computer vision, sending instructions via the IR blaster. New, more lifelike artificial intelligence instructions are driven by behavioral algorithms pioneered at the MIT Media Lab.
Pushstart worked closely with bots_alive to focus their go-to-market strategy as well as develop an appealingly clean-yet-humanistic visual identity for use across brand, product, and marketing materials. The release of the bots_alive explorer kit is just the beginning. With the team’s technical expertise and pragmatic approach, we expect big things from this young company.
Pushstart takes the ideas of our engineering-centric company and works closely with us to create something people actually want.
Dr. Brad Knox, Founder & CEO at Bots_alive