UberBlox lets you build robots and 3D printers, Lego-style

uberblox metal building blocks kickstarter
A common complaint about the time we’re living in is the lack of flying cars and/or jetpacks. However, another sci-fi staple, the replicator, is getting closer to becoming a reality. Not only do we have easy access to replicating 3D printers, but now UberBlox will let you build your own 3D printer in a manner not entirely unlike Lego. Call it a replicator replicator.

UberBlox is described on its Kickstarter page as a “ high-quality modular metal construction system and prototyping set for makers to build rigid structures and automated machines.” If this sounds similar to Lego, it’s because the toys were part of the inspiration behind the project.

“As great as building blocks are, they don’t address the need to build more robust structures. Anyone interested in making things like machines that actually do things, accurately, is generally stuck with either having someone else build it for them, or take the years to develop skills needed to get good at design and fabrication, then spend long hours on building their designs,” founder Alex Pirseyedi said to TechCrunch.

While the modularity is a major selling point for UberBlox, Pirseyedi was careful not to allow for too many options. “Having used systems such as T-slot extrusions for years for designing machines, I often had to deal with a great deal of design choices. That may sound like a good thing at first glance. But it could also introduce ‘analysis-paralysis,’” he said.

The simplest components are metal bars with metal connectors, called nodes. These only allow the rough structures of machines to be built, however. For the real heavy lifting, more complex pieces will be available. The system includes “re-configurable parts, including moving components, sub-assemblies, motors, electronics and controllers based on popular boards such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi.”

While backer pledges can start as low as $1, a full “pick your own selection of parts” kit starts at $100. As pledges increase, so do the options available. A pledge of $600 adds a 3D printer to the mix, while $769 or more will allow your UberBlox kit to function as a laser engraving and cutting machine.

At the time of this writing the Kickstarter has earned just over $30,000 toward its $100,000 goal. The campaign ends on April 22.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Tricked-out e-scooters and bike lights that lock

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

What would it take to build a Matrix-level simulation of reality?

What would it take, technologically speaking, to build a real version of the Matrix? We definitely don't have the technical abilities to do that now, but we're rapidly approaching the point that we will. In this article, MIT computer…
Home Theater

From home theater to home studio, these are the best speakers you can buy

Whether you’re looking for a spiffy surround sound setup or a small system to listen to Spotify, a great pair of speakers can make all the difference. These are the best speakers in all shapes and sizes.

HP Memorial Day sale: Spectre x360 Laptops, Omen gaming PCs, and printers

Memorial Day is a time for relaxation and remembrance, but it's also a huge season for yearly sales. The HP Memorial Day sale has deep discounts on laptops, desktop, printers, and more, and we’ve rounded up the best deals right here.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX joins internet-from-space race with launch of 60 Starlink satellites

SpaceX has launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying its first batch of Starlink satellites for its ambitious internet-from-space project. The payload, SpaceX's heaviest to date, successfully deployed an hour after liftoff.
Emerging Tech

The best solar chargers for your phone, tablet, and other battery-powered gear

Looking for a gizmo that can help you charge your phone while on the go? Here, we've outlined the best solar chargers on the market, whether you're looking to charge your phone once, twice, or three times over.
Emerging Tech

Motion-sensing shrubs and robo-Venus flytraps: Inside the world of Cyborg Botany

From motion-sensing plants to a Venus Flytrap you control using a computer, Harpreet Sareen is the brains behind a weird field called Cyborg Botany. Here's why he believes it matters.
Emerging Tech

This plane-pulling robo-dog makes Boston Dynamics’ Spot look scrawny

A robot dog created by researchers at Italy’s Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia showed off its impressive ability to pull a three-ton airplane down a runway. Check it out in action.
Emerging Tech

Scientists discover unexpected underwater volcano off the coast of Africa

Geologists first noticed something unusual in the Indian Ocean in November last year, when they detected a massive seismic event. Now further research has revealed that the source of the seismic activity is an enormous underwater volcano.
Emerging Tech

Jupiter’s vast magnetic field stretches over time, driven by atmospheric wind

Jupiter has the most powerful magnetic field in our Solar System, 18,000 times as strong as Earth's. Now scientists have discovered that the field changes over time, in an effect called secular variation.
Emerging Tech

Three rare exocomets spotted in orbit around a nearby star

Scientists have spotted three exocomets, or comets outside of our Solar System, in orbit around a bright young star called Beta Pictoris in the constellation of Pictor using NASA’s Transiting Exoplanets Survey Satellite (TESS).
Emerging Tech

Scientists find organic matter from outer space in 3.3-billion-year-old rocks

Scientists have located organic matter that is extraterrestrial in origin, in 3.3 billion year old rocks. This supports the theory that organic chemicals arrived on our planet aboard a meteorite and created the building blocks for life.
Emerging Tech

This galaxy, Messier 90, appears blue because it’s traveling toward us

A new Hubble image has been released showing Messier 90, 60 million light-years away in the Virgo Cluster. An unusual feature of Messier 90 is it is traveling towards the Milky Way, not away from it.
Emerging Tech

Mars 2020 spacecraft survives 8 days in a freezing cold vacuum chamber

The Mars 2020 rover, has been put through its paces in a further round of testing, undergoing acoustic and thermal vacuum tests which simulate the conditions of launch and space to check the craft can withstand extreme environments.