Based in San Jose, California is a tech startup ZeroUI that has recently launched their Indiegogo campaign for the hand controlled robotics kit known as Ziro. It is the world's first hand held controlled robotics kit and has already surpassed their $30,000 campaign goal. The modular kit has been designed in a way to bring the 3D printed creations to life.
It may prove to be phenomenon of gesture that varies across the consumer electronics introduced and has also been a mixed success. The intensity to which Nintendo Wii was popular showed that for a specific product users were happy to use their hands and bodies as controllers but for each Wii, there a million useless webcam or smartphone functions left stagnate, unused and meant for technology's recycle bin.
One such method of gesture recognition that endures in public since 2002 is when Tom Cruise tried to overcome the problem of determinism in tech thriller Minority Report. Movie reports some serious philosophical issues on the other hand it also provides the viewers a scene where protagonist wears a futurist glove to control some kind of projected computer based actions. The gloves also known as “cybergloves” have also been used in real life applications from th 1970's but never before have they been used to to control robots.
In order to fill the gap in the marketplace the startup commenced their work on Ziro back in 2013. Early prototype of the robotics were assembled in 2014. The robotics kit eventually did evolve as a user-friendly product with their recent campaign Indiegogo and the kit will soon be mass produced. The kit comes with many 3.81” x 2.95” x 1.38” actuator Modules, equipped with a 32-bit processor, WiFi connectivity and 90 rpm motor. The modules can be attached to any robot that is 3D printed or not and can take form of basic wheels, joints and moving parts.
In order to control the robot, users in the Tom Cruise’s footstep put a smart glove that includes a kit equipped with flex bend sensors and a 5-axis inertial measurement unit, 32-bit processor and WiFi connectivity. It can be programmed to control every single module with the kits dedicated smartphone app. The kit gives respond to 7 different hand gestures and also gives users some degree of control over the Modules and robots that they belong to. The kit also gives a play time of about 4 hours in context to the intensity of play. Every Module has a play time of about 7 hours.
Although ZeroUI had designed robotics kit while keeping the 3D printed creations in mind, it can also be attached to any other store bought toys or homemade creation. This attachable strategy also helped the startup in various other ways in relation to the previous iterations of Ziro 3D printed to save time and money.
One of the very low priced Ziro starter kit can be bought through Indiegogo for just $149. The starter kit includes a smart glove, 2 Modules, the Ziro Smartphone App and other assembly parts. Other packages include the distributor pack with deluxe options for $1,749 : 10 Ziro Pro Kits (40 Modules, 10 Gloves). The deliver of the orders is estimated to be by January 2017. With the new advancements of 3D printing soon there will me mote such options available for users, makers and lovers of the technology.