Cubelets and MOSS in Canada
Modular Robotics makes modular robotic construction systems for kids as they believe that toys shape the way that children think about the world. Modular Robotics is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, where they design, engineer and manufacture the robots. They are a spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University and are recipients of SBIR grant funding from the National Science Foundation. Modular Robotics designs, manufactures, and distributes innovative toy robot construction systems for children, adults, hobbyists, science museums, and schools.
Cubelets are magnetic blocks for children age 4+ that can be snapped together to make an endless variety of robots with no programming and no wires. You can build robots that drive around on a tabletop, respond to light, sound, and temperature with surprisingly lifelike behavior. Instead of programming that behavior, you snap the Cubelets together and watch the behavior emerge like a flock of birds or a swarm of bees.
Each Cubelet has a tiny computer inside of it and is a robot in its own right. When you put Cubelets together, you’re actually making a robot out of several smaller robots. Each Cubelet communicates with its neighbors, so you know that if two blocks are next to each other, they’re talking.
Each Cubelet in the kit has different equipment on board and a different default behavior. There are Sense Cubelets that act like our eyes and ears; they can sense light, temperature, and how far they are away from other objects. Just like with people, the senses are the inputs to the system.
On the flip side, the Action Cubelets act as outputs. They do things. Some have little motors inside of them so that they can drive around or spin one of their faces. There are Cubelets that make noise, shine a flashlight, or display their information through a light-up bar graph.
As you introduce MOSS to your classes and student groups, you can also introduce key concepts in robotics – understanding what robots are and do, and why humans have and make robots by building them, and in the process learning about sensors, actuators, and basic principles in engineering and design.
With Cubelets, educators can use hands-on STEM tool with students ages 4 years old through high school and beyond. Cubelets engage students in learning about robotics and systems of interactions. Students also get to investigate truly integrated STEM with project based learning and open-ended questions touching on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics activities.