Next Generation Scalextric

Cannybots: Programmable 3D Printed Robots in Disguise


New Kickstarter Cannybots is a robot building kit, cunningly disguised as remote-controlled racing cars. Customize your own with 3D printing.

cannybotsMarketing yourself as “Toys 2.0” is a pretty bold claim, but Cannybots could well be the real deal.

It’s a kit containing everything you need to build your own robot car, which can be easily programmed and controlled with a smartphone or tablet.

Launched on Kickstarter this week, Cannybots have already soared past their $40,000 goal with an avalanche of backers.

The toy is a very stealthy version of educational play; in the process of having cars carooming around the racetrack, the target audience of children are learning about the fundamentals of robotics.

Moreover, they’re hackable and 3D printable. A Cannybot shell, for example, is designed specifically to be 3D printed, allowing you and your kids (or buddies) to build a custom chassis.

The innovative project also functions as a stepladder onto more advanced technologies, so that the Cannybots can be programmed in Python or Java, and extended using Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

Each starter kit contains a Base, Top, Spoiler, Motor Brackets, Wheels, Tyres, Motors, Brain, Switch, Rechargeable Battery, USB Cable and Screwdriver — essentially everything you need — plus an instruction sheet and set of 7 stickers to personalize your Cannybot.

cannybots robot building kit

Cannybots on the Racetrack

So how do Cannybots perform as racing vehicles? The small motorized cars seem exceedingly simple at first glance.

You’ll notice that the cars run along black lines automatically, and the speed is controlled by their user. All you need is some black tape to make a track, and the sensors on the underside of the Cannybot will follow it.

However, it can also distinguish between different colors. This means you can branch out from Cannybot racing into things like sumo wrestling, jousting, and best of all… maze running.

Creative teachers (or frat boys) may be excited to find practical and fun uses for the seemingly simple toy. The official Cannybots forum is already teeming with ideas, like hacking the Cannybot to teach chemistry by adding a chemical sensor to the brain board. What could you dream up?

Whether you’re a beginner who needs lots of clear instructions, or something more advanced, Cannybots look like a fantastically fun toy. Its hackability means that with a little imagination, boredom will be banished from the playroom and the classroom.