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Your Kid Wants a Thymio II Education Robot

This feature-packed education robot from EPFL can be yours for just $100

2 min read
Your Kid Wants a Thymio II Education Robot

How much robot can you get for a hundred bucks? Not much: $100 is about a quarter of a Roomba. A quarter of a cheap Roomba. Or, you can spend it on an open source education robot from Switzerland that will help your kids to learn how to do things besides not vacuuming the floor.

The Thymio II comes from those robot geniuses at EPFL Lausanne in Switzerland. It's an educational robot designed from the ground up to be easy and fun to mess with for people with very limited (or no) previous experience in robotics. It's also designed from the ground up to be cheap, at just about $100 USD. How is this possible, you ask? Apparently, there's pretty much no profit margin or distribution cost, and all you're paying for is the hardware and for some people to put it together for you into a working robot. Not too shabby. And this robot comes with a bunch of sensors and other goodies:

Yes, there's a trailer hook. So you can stop worrying about that. And those "mechanic fixation" points are Lego compatible. To program Thymio II, you can use a nifty graphical interface, or a simple programming language called Aseba that's similar to Matlab. And oh hey did we mention that this thing is open source from source code to hardware? 'Cause it is.

Seriously, $100 seems very cheap for a platform like this. It's cheap enough that a $1,000 grant could outfit an entire classroom with robots that are colorful, versatile, fun, and can be tackled with a GUI before graduating to writing code. There's lots more info along with examples of what Thymio II can do in a wiki that you can check out here, and you can adopt one of your own at the link below.

[ Thymio II ]

Thanks Markus!

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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