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.
In honor of Earth Day, the National Security Agency has launched the STEM Recycling Challenge in Maryland schools to encourage kids to think about where the garbage they throw out every day actually goes. The agency has also introduced “Dunk,” a muscular blue cartoon recycling bin wearing shorts and sneakers.
A slew of announcements about new materials and design concepts for transportation have come out of several trade shows focusing on plastics, aircraft interiors, heavy trucks, and automotive engineering. A few more announcements have come independent of any trade shows, maybe just because it's spring.
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