A Ready-To-Go Robot For Any Developer! - Maker Faire

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We had a great conversation with Ben Edwards from Misty Robotics and learned about the newest iteration in their Misty line, Misty II. Misty II was created to be a robust yet configurable robotics platform for more the software-oriented to be able to get their feet wet in robotics. Check out the video to see the cool features they used and the way Misty makes robotics more accessible to educators and makers. And then head over to their site at https://www.mistyrobotics.com/ and see what else Misty has to offer!  Here's a transcript of our conversation with Ben.

Ben Edwards: So, you can create skills for Misty and it might be a ... when there's a noise over there, go investigate and send me a text message with a photo. That's an example skill but there's thousands and thousands of them. And that's what we're hoping our developers in our community come up with.

Well, this is the Misty II and the Misty I and they are both programmable robots. We're trying to make robots accessible to software developers and with some makers too, because there's some opportunities for expanding the hardware and 3D printing some things. But, yeah! We want javascript programmers and python programmers to be able to get in on robotics.

Laren:
What are the some of the differences between the Misty I and Misty II?

Ben Edwards:
Yeah, well so there's some obvious differences with the way that they look. One of them has arms and one of them has a head that moves in many directions, whereas the other one is just up and down and no arms. Other than that, there's a few more sensors on this guy. It's got cliff sensors so it doesn't go off with the stairs, it's got some bump sensors here.

Laren:
And it looks like the Misty II is kind of customizable, you can swap out different arms on it.

Ben Edwards:
Definitely, in addition to being injection molded and made in China, we are able to do a lot of things with the different parts. Take off the pieces, there's magnetized pieces that are for expandability. And the backpack is a key thing. You just like plug a backpack in the back, might have an Arduino inside. And so your Arduino project essentially becomes a robotic project.

Laren:
It looks like people will be able to use this kind of on a higher level. They don't have to get into the robotics of it as much, if they want to.

Ben Edwards:
Yeah, that's true! We've tried to take that up a level, so you don't need to know like firmware programming or even like C or something. You can just use JavaScript and Python, web programming languages and script things that we're calling "skills." So you can create skills for Misty and it might be a when there's a noise over there, go investigate and send me a text message with a photo. That's an example skill but there's thousands and thousands of them and that's what we're hoping our developers in our community come up with.

Laren:
And has it's been used in education and schools to teach programming?

Ben Edwards:
Well, not yet, but we're really getting in a lot of inbound interest in schools, so a lot of teachers are like, "This would be great, our students have kind of leveled all the way up out of Lego Mindstorms, and they would like something more." So we're definitely interested in getting these into the classrooms, and so I think that'll happen even as early as this next fall.

Laren:
What are some of the coolest kind of use cases you've seen?

Ben Edwards:
Yeah! Well, I mean right now, we've seen some really funny things like someone made a soap opera, sort-of documentary film with our robots which is pretty funny. But we're actually seeing interesting things in like elder care where people have a robot in a group home environment and they can actually check in on the individuals in the house. So it can go to the room, look, see that they're there, report everything that's good. It can even give reminders on when you might want to check on someone yourself or if someone needs medication. So aside from some fun examples, we see some real world applications.

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