Dash Robotics Launches a New Toy That You Desperately Need

Kamigami is a fast, durable, and easy-to-build hexapod that you can buy for under $50

2 min read
Dash Robotics Launches a New Toy That You Desperately Need

We love Dash Robotics because they’ve managed to take serious research robots and turn them into serious toy robots that you can actually buy and play with, which is remarkable and kind of awesome. Two years ago, Dash comfortably surpassed its crowdfunding goal to bring you one skittery little robot, and now they’ve got a brand new one that’s easier to build and program and faster than ever.

This is Kamigami:

It’s easy to build in about 30 minutes with zero tools, using just pop rivets, no glue:

The robot is constructed out of a laser cut sheet of fabric/plastic composite that Dash Robotics invented, and it’s a significant upgrade from the previous paper/plastic composite. It’s durable enough to survive things like this:

And even in slow-mo, it looks fast:

This method of locomotion is, of course, based on DASH, which is based on (among other things) cockroaches. And since we’re tossing up lots of videos, how about UC Berkeley’s 2009 DASH presentation:

Kamigami is a major upgrade over the original robot. Here are the highlights:

  • Do-It-Yourself: Kamigami can be assembled without tools in under an hour. No glue or soldering required.
  • High-speed: High speed and robust locomotion inspired by some of nature’s fastest runners.
  • iOS compatible: Free app allows you to control and program the robot. Android app coming soon.
  • Programmable: Kamigami is programmable through the mobile app and a drag and drop programming interface.
  • Rechargeable: Built-in high performance rechargeable battery. Recharges in about 30 minutes. 45-60 minutes of playtime per charge.
  • Advanced sensor suite: Includes 10 different sensors, for things such as rotation, acceleration, sensing and responding to ambient light, sending and receiving infrared signals.
  • Robot-to-robot communication: Infrared communication allows robots to talk to each other, allowing the robots to cooperate or compete.
  • Durable: Robot’s flexible construction allows the robot to shrug off falls and collisions.

Kamigami is launching on Kickstarter today, and you can score one for $49, for delivery early next year. The robot is made domestically, and we’re not at all worried about Dash Robotics being able to come through and deliver. Retail price is closer to $70, and they only need $50k on Kickstarter to make it all happen.

[ Kamigami ]

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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