Though they’ve been around for a good portion of 2011, only today did I finally check out a video for Cubelets. These are block-shaped robots that, much like Legos or Knex, can snap together and form new creations. The only difference is that when you build something with Cubelets, it will actually move when you’re done.
The blocks snap together with magnets and each perform a different function (15 in all). Action Blocks do things like turn on a flashlight or drive; Sense Blocks have brightness or distance sensors on them; and Think/Utility Blocks carry battery power or just take up space. A complete list of blocks is here. By snapping them together, you can create robots that drive around, run away from your hands, or do other strange things without any programming or extra knowledge. It’s pretty cool.
The only downside of Cubelets are their price. They’re currently on pre-order and cost $160 for a pack of six and $520 for a pack of 20. Modular Robotics, a new company, makes the blocks, which will become available in April 2012 for the first time.
If you still don’t quite get it, I recommend watching the strangely Dutch introductory video below, which features a lot of Cubelets and one very bearded man. Thanks to TechCrunch for a link to the video.
Here’s another video showing a guy toying around with his new Cubelets.