If you grew up in the 80s you might recall Big Track: a programmable kids robo-truck that could be made to perform a handful of actions, like moving a set number of units in a certain direction, firing a faux laser or tipping out the contents of its dumper truck at a pre-set destination (assuming your parents’ had shelled out for that accessory).
Well, Big Track mostly sucked but only because the concept was ahead of what the technology could affordably deliver. Playing with Big Truck meant repeatedly driving into walls as you underestimated the number of units required to negotiate the space between the kitchen table and the door. What the toy maker got right was that kids are easily excited about robotics. Fast forward a few decades and enter mOwayduino: programmable
Arduino-based robot toys designed to be used in conjunction with mobile apps (e.g for radio controlling the device via the phone’s accelerometer) plus hardware add-ons — creating a rich environment for learning by playing around with hardware and software building blocks.
Or that’s the idea. At the moment, mOwayduino is at the concept/prototyping stage. The Spanish company behind the project is apparently aiming to crowdfund the idea via Indiegogo. For now, you can register your interest via their website. Update: mOwayduino’s makers say the Indiegogo campaign to fund production will launch in less than two weeks. “If we succeed, in three months, it will be on market. For people supporting the Indiegogo project, mOwayduino will be available at a special price,” the company tells TechCrunch. “If we exceed the money we need for the production, we will develop a graphical programming app for tablets.” It also intends to have an open API for users to develop their own apps.