Polish 3D printing company Zortrax has revealed its role in the development of the Photon educational robot.
In Photon’s early stages of development, Zortrax 3D printed 25 versions to help refine the design.
Teaching kids programming
The purpose of the Photon is to encourage children to learn programming and engage in robotics. Photon was launched on Kickstarter to which it successfully raised a total of $52,829.
But to get to this stage, the team behind the robot depended upon Zortrax’s M200 3D printer to create prototypes.
3D printing robots
Using 3D printing was advantageous as it enabled the team to rapidly iterate and tweak the design of the robot. This was particularly important as nearly 3,000 children helped provide feedback.
The robot has 10 sensors which detect: obstacles in the environment, touch, light, sound and surface of the ground. The device can also make sounds, light up its eyes, antennae, and communicate with other like-minded robots.
With a similar aesthetic, the Japanese Space Agency also recently enlisted 3D printing to fabricate its space drone.
The educational robot is controlled by a child-friendly software which was inspired by MIT’s Scratch and Google’s Blockly.
Using a mobile device and a proprietary app, the “Photon-Human Translator,” kids will teach the robot how to perform tasks while also learning themselves.
Photon will now move into large-scale production of the robots later this year in August, having successfully refined the design with 3D printing.
Featured image shows the robot in its natural environment. Image via Photon.