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New Self-Balancing, Reconfigurable Pi Bot Recognizes Faces

This PiKit robot balances itself upright and can be programmed to avoid obstacles, recognize faces, and follow lines. Photo courtesy of Anima Technika.
This PiKit robot balances itself upright and can be programmed to avoid obstacles, recognize faces, and follow lines. Photo courtesy of Anima Technika.

A new series of robotics components are available via Indiegogo. Made by the Slovakian robotics company Anima Robotics, the centerpiece of the kit is a small, black box with four buttons called the PiController. The PiController comes in two flavors: Raspberry ($289) and Banana ($299). Each black box also includes 3 – axis accelerometers and gyroscopes, 3 – axis magnetometer, PWM expansion chip, buzzer, speaker, and LCD backlit display.

Different robots, some that walk and some that roll, can be made by plugging motors and additional sensors into the PiController. For example, plugging the vision module ($189) and two-wheeled drive module ($99) into a PiController creates a bot that, with the right software, is capable of face recognition and self-balancing. Plugging in two sets of legs creates a low-lying, insect-like bot that’s suitable for exploring walking algorithms. Wifi connectivity in the PiController means all bots can be controlled via a smart device.

Open source code and tutorials are available to help the novice, too. And, as Anima’s You Tube video suggests, “sexy moves algorithm included.”

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