The latest prototype for the MeArm Raspberry Pi addition has won 1st Prize on the Hackaday Enlightened Pi contest. We started documenting our latest creation with the lovely people over at Hackaday.io as was a form of open development for our first big project at Mime Industries - making the MeArm Robot arm and Raspberry Pi perfect parners.
Judges said that “This robot arm project is very polished, consisting of both the mechanical design and software. The step-by-step construction instructions are clear and easy to follow. The mechanical design is well though out, with pieces that snap together nicely.”
Here’s some of the detail of the new arm and Raspberry Pi hat.
It’s great to have this sort of recognition so early in our process, the next couple of months will consist of more finessing of the design and the sending out of some samples for feedback from a select few Raspberry Pi and technology enthusiasts.
We’re hoping to launch a Kickstarter for the new Raspberry Pi MeArm in late January. If you have any feedback on the project please let us know!Read more
Those paying attention to the activities at MeArm Towers and the Mirobot Volcano Lair will have noticed that they’ve been working together a whole lot lately. This process ultimately started when Ben Gray wrote this blog post back in 2014 praising the design and openness of the Mirobot design. The two founders met at Maker Faire 2014 and found a lot of common ground and mutual respect.
Since then they’ve met at various events and realised that they’d been running the same business, with the same ethics and similar products for the last two years. The logical conclusion was to fight a battle to the death for the title of UK Laser Cut Robot Maker Champion, or simply to combine forces and battle for the international title.
So after some back and forth and two months of harmonious co-working they’ve come up with a new parent company for both MeArm and Mirobot. Mime Industries. From Mirobot and MeArm, with Industries thrown in to make both founders feel a little bit more like Tony Stark.
Frankly they need the help, as this is what they looked like on the day they founded the company in a pub, located just off the M1 Motorway half way between Nottingham and Hertford.
(Benjamin Gray on the left, Ben Pirt on the right).
So on that day Mime Industries was born. Production has mostly been moved to Nottingham and work on some new projects is well on the way. A fantastic designer (the ever-awesome Tom Williams has put together a new identity that will be rolled out over the next few days.
Stay tuned for new product announcements in the coming weeks!
For anyone wanting to cover this news, here’s a handy press release.Read more
Mime Industries enables people to learn through play and exploration of technology. Their groundbreaking build-it-yourself kits have inspired children and adults to break through their own barriers and learn to build and code whilst having fun. Their products are simple to build and can be easily understood. Meaning you can use them to learn and play, adding your own imagination to make something great.
All Mime Industries products are fully Open Source. This means that as well as providing the physical and computational parts you need to build them we provide all of the design and production files you need to reproduce them. It also means that people all over the world can build them from just the plans! They believe by sharing their ideas freely you can learn more from the products, and they can learn more from you!
Mime Industries was formed from two independent companies. Mirobot and MeArm Robotics. Both had great success with their own laser cut, open source robot kits, but their founders Ben Pirt and Benjamin Gray thought that together they’d have a better chance of taking over the world!
Ben Pirt has been working as a CTO in startups since 2002 when he founded the energy monitoring hardware company Onzo. Since then he’s worked on platforms for the Internet of Things (Pachube / Xively) and on renewable technologies for the developing world. After creating Mirobot in his spare time for his two kids he decided to shift it up a gear and make it a product others could use. Two successful Kickstarters later and Mirobot is being used in over 50 countries around the world to help kids learn about technology, coding and engineering.
Benjamin Gray has been around the Maker scene since 2003 when he founded Phenoptix, an online purveyor of fine electronic goods. Since then he’s completed a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry, attended Oktoberfest five times, run a couple of marathons and fathered three wonderful children. Also over a few days in 2014, with the help of a friend, he stumbled on the viral success of the MeArm which went on to raise nearly £25k on Kickstarter.Read more
Block based programming languages have been extremely popular in helping children learn how to program. They built nicely on the foundations of the early languages like LOGO to provide an easily understandable and syntax-error free programming environment that gives you quick results. Scratch first made this approach popular and have gained great momentum in bringing programming into education. Google developed a similar tool called Blockly that was designed to be a tool to build your own programming environments and integrate it with your own tools, which is a fantastic approach.
Earlier this week, however, Google again raised the stakes by turning the block-based interface physical with Project Bloks. Physical learning is something that’s close to our hearts at Mirobot, but until now the programming was always screen-based whilst interacting with a physical device.
Project Bloks is a system that’s designed to be used to build physical programming tools in exactly the same way that Blockly is designed to be used to build other tools. It’s all about the platform, rather than the product. It’s an approach I’d love to see more because it leaves more room in the market for innovation and exploration. You can snap together different blocks that represent chunks of code and use the built-in physical interfaces to tweak the parameters. It makes for an incredibly fun learning experience and I believe it will be very effective in getting kids learning to code.
I’ve been fortunate enough to meet with the very talented team behind Project Bloks and have worked to support them integrating the Bloks hardware with Mirobot. Fortunately because of open protocols and data formats this was a pretty straightforward exercise and illustrates one of the drivers behind making Mirobot WiFi based - ease of connectivity. I’m very proud that Mirobot is one of three pieces of hardware that’s supported by Project Bloks out-of-the-box.
This announcement is (hopefully) just the beginning of the journey for the Project Bloks team. There’s a huge amount of thought and research that’s gone into the product so far and I can’t wait to see what’s next in the pipeline.Read more