Yes, they do seem similar to those robots. I think modularity is becoming a theme in a lot of technology areas, and you're right, robotics is one of them. I also think the ease of assembly of these--how they snap together--is just a genius idea for kids and should get them interested in technical things quite early.
A tremendous number of programs have popped up to support kids' involvement with robots. Every time I go to an automation tradeshow these days there is a corral of kids with their home-developed robots.
Great slideshow, Elizabeth. Modular robotics is becoming a big deal, even when they don't self-assemble. The magnets remind me of the MIT self-assembly robot cubes we covered here http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1392&doc_id=268858
I will definitely keep an eye on this project, Rob. It seems really cool and I think will also go a long way to encourage kids to make their own robots and foster interest in STEM. I think this also is the aim of the company. How they have connected the robots through magnets and different interfaces, and use this instead of programming, is really unique, I think.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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