Jon, it's a good idea to promote the business ideas. As of now robots are too far from common people and if some freeware or open kits are available, I think atleast half of the enthusiastic peoples may have a try.
The Multiplo system builds on the popular--and inexpensive--Arduino-type computer boards. Many third-party companies and entrepreneurs offer compatible boards for wireless control, servo-motor drivers, and so on, which makes the Multiplo more flexible than the LEGO system--at least in my opinion. With LEGO's Mindstorms you pretty much get locked into LEGO products.
Jon, I wonder how the capabilities of this system would compare to Lego Mindstorms. Could it enable someone to do robotic things that Mindstorms couldn't do? One big difference is the use of open source.
Hi, Rob. This project appealed to me because of the open-source hardware and software. Anyone with the proper equipment can duplicate the robot parts. I bet schools and clubs could get a local firm to cut out parts on a laser cutter for free or for a small cost. We could talk with kids all day about computer programming (yawn), but they'd rather have a basic "robot" that could move and figure out how to make it do something. The key involves excellent teaching guides, lab exercised for students, and tutorial info so the kids can learn more on their own and create thrir own projects.
Robots for kids young and older have become quite the robust market. A quick Google search reveals a wide range from simple Lego-like kits to more sophisticated projects. They are a contemporary version of the Erector kits. Nice to see.
I don't know why this type of robot would need a GPS, although someone will find a use for it. I was tempted to support this effort and get a robot starter kit in return, but I already have too many projects underway. Perhaps I'll jump in when the Multiplo robot "Erector set" becomes a commercial product.
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Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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