The educational technology start-up behind a robot that teaches coding and robotics skills has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to help fund and develop its second version – with new features including sound.
Robotical’s Marty the Robot is described as a “versatile, walking, dancing, eyebrow-wiggling”, low-cost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) device designed for children and educators.
The first version has been shipped to more than 50 countries – and the latest development comes hot on the heels of Robotical opening its first US office, in Boston, to further target the North American schools market.
There are more than 130,000 schools in the US, and the start-up said it is already seeing a great deal of interest for its unique robot.
Edinburgh-based Robotical said Marty v2, like its predecessor, can be coded by users aged eight to 18 in computer languages including Scratch and Python, is compatible with single-board computers like Raspberry Pi, and can be customised with 3D printed parts.
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Marty comes as a kit or pre-built, so users can build from the ground up or jump straight into coding the robot to walk, turn, dance, kick a football and more.
The new Marty has been built based on feedback taken on since 2016 when the first iteration launched. The result is a second-generation robot with new features like sound, to let Marty talk; position-sensing, which enables Marty to play back movements demonstrated by users; and new add-ons like Disco Marty and grabbing hands.
Dream come true
Robotical chief executive and founder Sandy Enoch, who is the inventor of Marty, said: “Creating the first Marty was a dream come true and we’re thrilled to launch the new and improved Marty v2.
“Marty v2 was built with a passion to help kids learn how to code intuitively and easily progress into using real-world technologies like Python. It’s also fun – new add-ons like Disco Marty give you over a hundred controllable colour changing LED, which look great and give hours and hours of entertainment.”
Enoch added: “We want to help continue to shape the future of education. Learning to code is a lifelong skill that helps teach kids not just employment-relevant skills of programming, but also life skills like problem-solving, patience and creativity.”
Myles Bax, Robotical’s head of enterprise business development, said: “With Marty v2, our hope is to continue making Stem education accessible to children of all ages across the globe.
Marty already helps children across more than 50 countries, including the UK, US, Australia and in schools in Rwanda. With these newly added features, we’re hoping that Marty v2 will expand further with its unique fun and educational approach.”
The estimated delivery date is March. In exchange for pre-ordering, early customers will be able to input on what Marty should sound like, colour options, design their own stickers, suggest add-ons and more.
The tech firm earlier this year teamed up with Heart of Midlothian to help the Edinburgh football team roll out its digital education programmes.