Matador Messenger Exclusive : Creating Programmable Computers with Straws

Photo Courtesy of  quirkbot.com

Photo Courtesy of quirkbot.com

Quirkbot is a toy that allows you to build and program your own robots with regular drinking straws.  It is compatible with the open construction toy Strawbees and can be used along with readily available materials like regular drinking straws, LEDs, and hobby servos (motors) to create a wide variety of hackable toys suitable for anyone aged 10+, according to quirkbot.com.

  Carl Bärstad , lead instigator  with Kids Hack, explained the motivations inspirations behind their product development in an exclusive interview with Matador Messenger.

1. What inspired you to create this product? What need where you trying to find a solution for? Who came up with the idea?

“The inspiration behind the Quirkbot came from a need to make Kids Hack Day more sustainable in the long-term as well as improving the experience for the kids at our events. The lead instigator of Kids Hack Day, Carl Bärstad, was thinking a lot about possibilities for Kids Hack Day to develop their own product and build a technology program around that. It was then at the first Kids Hack Day Sydney event that took place in December 2013 that the idea of an electronics module for the Strawbees building system came to life after having seen how the kids interacted with straws and the existing electronics tools we were using.”

2. What makes your product different others in the same field?

Quirkbot is unique in the sense that it is completely open-ended and works with off-the-shelf components. We sell servos, straws and sensors but you can also get these yourself from any radio shack or local convenience store. You can even produce your own Strawbees using our die cutter or a laser cutter. This open source approach to both Quirkbot and Strawbees, as well as the flexibility of the system makes both of them really suitable for education. Because Quirkbot is completely open-ended it is also the perfect tool for creativity because it doesn’t constrain the user to any particular types of structures. The only limitation is your own imagination.

3. How are you planning on selling your product? (Stores, online, etc…)

3) After the kickstarter we are planning to open a store on www.quirkbot.com to continue pre-sales with shipping in August. The pre-sales will end in july and we will re-open the store after we have delivered the first bade by the end of august. During the spring we will also let schools and afterschool programs sign up for our Robotics Program which we will launch for the fall semester.

If you are interested about Quirkbot and Kids Hack Day you can visit their website at www.quirkbot.com or their kikstarter page on www,kikstarter.com.