Smartibot: Your New Budget DIY AI-Enabled Robot


Ever read all these tech news and wondered what it would be like if you could make your own robot? Well, now you can, with Smartibot.

Invest only $46 (£35) on Kickstarter, and you too can make a cute little robot using cardboard and clay or a potato.

How does Smartibot work?

Basically, you use your smartphone as a remote control or attach it to the robot as its brain.  You will first need to download the Smartibot app which includes a powerful AI (artificial intelligence) called YOLO. What can it do? YOLO can recognize objects the robot sees such as people, cars, dogs, bicycles, etc.

The Smartibot kit comes with all the pieces and tools you need to assemble it. According to its creators, it should only take you between 20 minutes and an hour to build your first robot.

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The process consists of folding the pieces of cardboard, inserting other components and “doing up nuts and bolts.” After that, you will open the app and select controller mode to control it by yourself or select AI and attach the phone on the robot.

You can order your robot to do a number of things, such as following you around with a cup of tea or whatever, chasing your pets out of your bedroom, etc.

In addition to the AI robot, Smartibot comes with cardboard parts to make two additional robots – a Teabot, which obviously carries your tea (or whatever you want, it doesn’t have to be tea), and a Unicorn because why not.

Its parts are, of course, reusable. You can reuse the circuit board, motors, and battery box, and attach them to your creation.

“We’ve designed Smartibot to enable you to build robots that are as complex as you want. What does this mean? You can connect up to 14 motors (4 DC ones and 10 servos), so you can build wheeled robots, two-legged robots, four-legged robots, robot arms, not to mention cars, trikes, hovercraft, airboats, probably even aeroplanes (though we’ve not tried that yet but excited to see what you come up with!),” Smartibot’s creators say.

Smartibot’s requirements and features

Your robot needs only four AA batteries to run. This means that, if you want, you can connect Smartibot with anything that runs on four or fewer batteries.

This cool new gadget has two expansion boards: a 144 LED display to additionally personalize your robot and a board with two laser distance sensors and a gesture sensor that you can use to make your robot avoid obstacles, prevent it driving off the desk, control it with gestures, etc. You can order them for an additional $33 (£25).

The Smartibot app will be available on both Android and iOS devices made since about 2013. Find more information here on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter: Smartibot – The world’s first AI enabled cardboard robot

Photo credit: Smartibot / Ross Atkin Associates
Source: Campaign site / press kit

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Sead Fadilpasic
Sead Fadilpasic
Freelance writer / journalist / blogger. Tech enthusiast and gadget freak. Guitarist. Previously Al Jazeera journalist.
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