Since we announced our crowdfunding campaign for the Misty II we’ve heard a lot from educators in middle school, high school, and college. Many of them have said “It’s about time!”
Educators are telling us that it’s about time that STEM educators and students have an advanced but accessible robot to use, without having to build their own. And we agree. Misty II is a robot that:
- Is not primarily about the mechanics. Kids are tired of building the same kit robots and doing the same basic tasks with them. Misty II is already built (but easy to take apart), so “non-builder” kids won’t feel bored by an initial assembly process. And, because Misty II is hardware extensible, the “maker” kids have very exciting opportunities to explore of their own.
- Provides advanced capabilities and handles all the difficult parts of them. Students don’t have to know how to do face and object recognition or mapping, in order to work with a platform that does. They get the advanced technology experience while not getting bogged down in the really tricky parts.
- Feels friendly and fun to all kids, not just the ones who like mechanical objects.
- Supports students learning to code with age-appropriate, easy-to-use tools, from graphical block programming to simple APIs in standard programming languages. Complicated platforms like ROS are not required.
- Provides a platform for Ph.D.’s who are doing AI, ML, and robotics research. We’re not kidding about this. Our Ph.D. Head of Brain Engineering is ecstatic to finally have an expressive, easy to program, personal robot to experiment with.
- Costs about the same as a laptop.
“I don’t want to build a robot (again)!”
It’s about time that robots move beyond being appealing only to the “hands on” students and mechanical/electronic tinkerers. Yes, building robots is valuable, but there are many more students who are interested in controlling a robot than in building one.
Without even getting into true programming, Misty is easily controllable via her companion app and a block programming interface. That way, any child — from special needs to the totally mechanically disinterested — can experience the joy of making a robot do cool things. And that feeling of “wow” is an open door to more technical comfort going forward.
And, at the same time, for the kids who really are into mechanical things, but are tired of building the same robot over and over, Misty II is very hardware extensible. Students can replace her arms with 3D printed ones. They can give her headgear. She has a USB/serial-enabled backpack (and an optional Arduino backpack, too). Kids who are into making things will go crazy.
For the kids who really want to see how an advanced robot is built, we also made Misty II exceptionally easy to take apart and reassemble. A teardown video made by our founder, Ian Bernstein, is below (so keep reading).
“The robot can do what????”
It’s about time a company made an educational robot that did more than the basics. Teachers want platforms that engage, where imaginations can run wild. Sensors are cheap these days, so a lot of educational robots are getting cameras and more. But doing anything interesting with them out of the box? No way.
Misty II not only comes with touch sensors, edge sensors, distance sensors, and multiple cameras and microphones. With no programming required, she can do face recognition and mapping. And she doesn’t do these things cheaply or badly — Misty has an onboard neural network for face and object recognition. The depth sensor she uses for mapping creates 3D maps and is absolutely state of the art.
At the same time, that Misty offers all this power, she strips away the complexity of concepts like image processing and “SLAM.” Yes, an advanced student in high school or college or grad school can go as deeply as they want into computer vision or even build their own neural network modules. But nobody has to do this in order to get experience with these capabilities.
“That robot’s really cute!”
It’s about time a company made an advanced robot that was approachable. All kids deserve to engage with technology and get the knowledge and experience that will help them with their studies and their careers.
Misty II isn’t an ugly hunk of metal. She’s cute and has personality, and that’s not an accident. Our founder, Ian Bernstein, worked with Disney when building Sphero’s BB-8, R2D2, and Cars robots. He learned the power of approachability and character. Misty doesn’t scare young students or look intimidating. Instead she inspires them to be creative and excited about technology.
“I made it do that!”
And it’s about time a company made a robot that could grow with students. As students mature into more sophisticated coding, Misty II is right there for their advancing needs. In higher grades, educators look for beefier processors to start teaching deep neural network machine learning algorithms on. Misty II has two Qualcomm Snapdragon processors — one running Windows 10 IoT Core and one running Android. Teachers and college students want more closer-to-the-processor access to try their own object recognition algorithms, or sound recognition, or path planning. They may want to explore more sophisticated languages like Java or C#. Misty II has got you covered.
“I don’t have to build a robot to test my theory?”
It’s about time a company made a robot embodying the best in human-robot interaction research. On top of her other professional-grade capabilities, Misty’s personality engine was designed by two amazing Ph.D.s who have been working with emotion/personality in the Machine Learning / AI space for years. And, leading professors in robotics and computer vision are among our advisors for Misty, including Vijay Kumar (University of Pennsylvania), Kostas Daniilidis (University of Pennsylvania), and Terry Boult (University of Colorado Colorado Springs).
And Misty’s personality abilities are not just a tool for Ph.D.’s. One of the most active areas of growth in technology is in human-machine interaction design. And once they meet a robot with personality, kids immediately and intuitively understand this. Getting kids excited now about making a robot react and express feeling is not just fun — it’s a powerful step into their future.
“I can afford that robot!”
Finally, it’s about time an advanced robot was affordable. We don’t need to strap high school and college budgets with 5- or 6-figure costs. If you can purchase a laptop, you can purchase Misty II.
It’s about time.
Special Offers to Educators
We know that having a sophisticated, powerful robot in the classroom will accelerate learning in robotics and want to offer Misty as an option for educators and STEM groups; To that end we are offering a special referral program as well as quantity discounts and the ability to pay via PO to educators and STEM groups. Here are the details. Chat with anyone on our website, and we’ll help you set up your order.
- Discount of $200 per robot on orders from 3 to 9 robots
- Discount of $300 per robot on orders from 10 to 20 robots
- Want more than 20 robots? Email us at info @ mistyrobotics.com
- Each referral from a qualified educator or STEM group leader will pay out $200 per person referred (and the person referred gets $100 off their robot).
- Does our campaign not align with your budget cycle? Reserve your robots and then email us with your order # and we will make arrangements for a PO.