A good educational robot needs to be two things: simple enough that anyone can build it, and fun enough that they’ll want to. The new PLEN:bit bipedal robot fits that philosophy perfectly, and just launched on Kickstarter.
PLEN:bit is a tiny humanoid robot based on the popular BBC micro:bit development board, and it was designed by PLEN Project Committee specifically to be fun and easy to work with. PLEN:bit measures just 13cm (about 5 inches) tall, but packs in a total of eight servo-actuated joints. That’s two servos for each of the arms and legs, so PLEN:bit is fully capable of walking around and even dancing.
The BBC micro:bit that controls PLEN:bit has been upgraded with a distance sensor, so the little robot can navigate around obstacles. That’s in addition to the accelerometer and other sensors that are already built into the micro:bit. With all of those sensors, makers can program PLEN:bit to perform a variety of activities, like walking through a maze, dancing, or playing soccer.
The PLEN:bit Kickstarter campaign is running until January 14th, 2019, and one kit with an included micro:bit costs ¥29,500 (about $261 USD). Rewards are expected to ship in May of 2019.