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Posts Tagged ‘kickstarter’

AutoPi is a 4G & GPS OBD-II Dongle Based on Raspberry Pi Zero W Board (Crowdfunding)

September 1st, 2017 8 comments

We’ve previously cover Macchina M2 OBD-II dongle based on an Arduino compatible MCU, and with 4G LTE support for the maker market, and iWave Systems OBD-II dongle with 4G LTE and LTE running Linux on NXP i.MX6 for the B2B market, but so far I had not seen an hackable OBD-II dongle running Linux for the maker market. AutoPi dongle fills that void as it is based on Raspberry Pi Zero W board, runs Raspbian with Autopi software (AutoPi Core), supports 4G LTE, GPS, etc,.. and connects to your car’s OBD-II socket.

AutoPi dongle specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARN11 Core processor @ up to 1 GHz
  • System Memory – 512MB LPDDR2 SRAM
  • Storage – 8GB micro SD card
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 4G Cat 1 modem with 3G/EDGE fallback working worldwide (but region locked)
    • 4G bands – Region specific
    • 3G fallback (WCDMA) – B1, B2, B4, B5, B8
    • EDGE fallback – B3, B8; quad band
    • micro SIM card slot
  • GNSS – Integrated GPS + A-GPS
  • Wireless Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Video – mini HDMI output up to 1080p60
  • Audio – Built-in speakers
  • Car Interface
    • STN-2120 OBD-II, SW-CAN, MS-CAN to UART Interpreter IC
    • Supported Protocols: ISO 15765-4, ISO 14230-4, ISO 9141-2, SAE J1850 VPW, SAE J1850 PWM, SW-CAN, MS-CAN, ISO 15765, ISO 11898 (raw), K-Line, L-Line
  • Expansion – 18x unused GPIO pins
  • Sensors – 3-axis accelerometer
  • Power Supply – Via OBD-2 interface; built-in power management to avoid draining the car’s battery
  • Dimensions – 90 x 45 x 25 mm

The dongle comes pre-assembled with an OBD extension/relocation cable, a case with all electronics including RPi0 W, a micro SD card with AutoPi Core, and some Velcro strips.

Setup is pretty easy with 5 steps:

  1. Insert your micro SD card
  2. Insert the dongle into your vehicle’s OBD-II port
  3. Connect to AutoPi WiFi access point
  4. Configure the device with APN string and AutoPi key
  5. Connect to AutoPi cloud

The cloud platform allows you to remotely monitor your car, and the customizable dashboard gives access to an history of trips, car data, OBD commands, IFTTT, custom Python code development, terminal access, and a REST API is also available to develop your own web app.

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A lot of different features are possible thanks to AutoPi dongle and cloud platform, such as voice commands to control windows and aircon in your car, theft detection and tracking, remote start, crash detection with SMS alerts, auto lock/unlock from a smart device, and so on. All is supposed to be done securely, but the company did not provide that many details about that critical part for a such system.

AutoPi’s developers  have launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise at least DKK 475,000 (~$76,000). If you live in Europe, you can pledge ~205 Euros to get an AutoPi from the batch to be delivered in January 2018, others can pledge ~$261 to get a sample from the second batch in March 2018. Note the software will improve overtime, and while all models will be upgradeable, AutoPi dongle with the fully implemented firmware and software will be delivered in the third batch and beyond starting from May 2018. Shipping adds ~$9.60 to Europe, and ~$14.4 to the rest of the world. You may want to visit AutoPi.io website for many more details about the solution.

CrazyPi Board Runs Ubuntu and ROS on Rockchip RK3128 SoC for Robotics & IoT Projects (Crowdfunding)

August 10th, 2017 4 comments

CrazyPi is a maker board powered by Rockchip RK3128 quad core Cortex A7 processor that can take various magnetically connected modules such as LIDAR, gimbal, 4G LTE, etc.., and runs both Ubuntu and ROS (Robot Operating System) for DIY robotics & IoT projects.

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CrazyPi main board specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3128 quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with ARM Mali GPU
  • MCU – ARM Cortex-M3 @ 72 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3L @ 1066 MHz
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash pre-loaded with Ubuntu and ROS
  • Connectivity – 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi @ 150 Mbps, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port
  • Expansion Headers – Two headers with a total of 36-pin exposing 1x HDMI, 1x speaker, 1x microphone, 3x PWM, 1x I2C, 1x UART, 1x SPDIF, 1x SPI, 1x USB
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port ?
  • Dimensions – Smaller than credit card

The full details are not available yet, but the company claims CrazyPi is “completely open source and DIY”, so I’d assume more details will eventually show up on CrazyPi github repo (now empty). A cloud service also allows you to stream the webcam output from anywhere in the world.

Webcam View and Map Generated from CrazyPi Robot Kit

What’s  quite interesting is that the board is designed to be connected to add-on boards, modules and accessories allowing you to build robots:

  • Robotic shield board to control motors / servos
  • Media shield board for HDMI output and use the board as a mini computer
  • 4G LTE module (maybe part of the robotic shield board?)
  • Crazyou 4K LIDAR sensor with SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) function to automatically create map of your environment
  • 720p camera module
  • 2-degrees gimbal
  • 4-wheel robot chassis
  • 2x 18650 batteries and case

Again, we don’t have the exact details for each, but the promo video explains what can be done with the kits.

Crazyou – that’s the name of the company – has launched the project on Kickstarter to fund mass production with a 200,000 HKD goal (around $25,800). The board is supposed to cost $29, but is not offered standalone in the crowdfunding campaign, so instead you could start with a $59 CrazyPi Media Kit with the mainboard, camera and media board. If you want the complete robot shown above, you’d have to pledge $466 for the CrazyPi Advanced Kit reward with the camera module, the mainboard, the gimbal, the robotic shield board, battery case and charger, the chassis, and LIDAR. Various bundles are available to match different projects’ requirements. Shipping to most countries adds around $19, and delivery is scheduled for October 2017. There’s not much to see on Crazyou website, but eventually more details may emerge there.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

Sonnet is a Rugged Portable Device Creating Mesh Networks for Smartphones

July 24th, 2017 3 comments

Cellular networks are available in most places, but not always, and you may not have connectivity while climbing mountains or other remote locations, when going abroad, during natural disaster, in very crowded places where network capacity is exceeded, or when your government decides to cut it off for “national stability and harmony”.  Wouldn’t it be great if you were still able to contact with your friend in such cases, and create your own mesh networks expanding over several kilometers? That’s exactly what Sonnet does by connecting to your smartphone over WiFi, and to other Sonnet nodes over ISM frequencies (433, 868 and 925 MHz).

Sonnet hardware specifications:

  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with up to 20 dBm (max varies per country); WPA/WPA2 security
    • Long Range RF
      • Frequencies
        • 915 MHz (North America)
        • 868 MHz (Europe)
        • 433 MHz (Asia Pacific)
      • Distance – 5km typ.; up to 10km Line-of-sight; SMA connector available to extend the range with your own antenna
      • Transmit power – 1W (30 dBm)
      • Receiver Sensitivity – -148 dBm
      • Modulation Method – Chirp Spread Spectrum (CSS)
  • Power Supply – micro USB port. Input: 5V / 2A; Output (e.g. to charge phone): 5.1V @ 2.1 A
  • Battery – 4,000 mAh LiPo battery good for up to 24 hours
  • Dimensions – 88 x 80 x 17 mm
  • Weight – 160 grams
  • IP Rating – IP66 rating under IEC standard 60529

Those are based on the same frequencies as LoRa, but since they don’t mention the standard at all, it must be a proprietary solution. The device should be legal in most countries, including North America, Europe, and China, but you’d still need to check, as it’s illegal in mine. I can use 433 MHz up to 10 mW only, and the 1W transmit power makes it illegal here.

The initial setup involves connecting to Sonnet access point, going to https://app.sonnetlabs.com from your web browser, and start using the app to communicate. You can chat, send pictures and voice recordings, and share your GPS coordinates. It’s like a high-end talkie walkie with higher range, and you can create a mesh network of those with up to 16 hops supported, corresponding to a 80 km range. An firmware update planned for 2018 will also allow Sonnet to create an Internet connected mesh network, with all your need is at least one Sonnet connected to the Internet over WiFi.

Smartphone vs Walkie-Talkie vs Satellite vs Sonnet + Smartphone

The web app also supports off-line maps, Panic/SOS button, and Sonnet can be used as a power bank to charge your phone too. Another use case I could envision is a city wide network for chat only, since bandwidth will be limited, for people who don’t want to pay extra for cellular connectivity, since Sonnet is free to use.

The device is now on Kickstarter with over $140,000 raised and 8 days to go. Rewards start at $89 for a pair of Sonnet devices with two power adapters and charging cables, and go up to $399 for 10 Sonnet devices. Shipping adds $10 to the US, $13 to Canada and $15 to the rest of the world, and delivery is expected for November 2017.

Manga Screen 2 is Smartphone Touchscreen Display with USB and HDMI Ports for Makers (Crowdfunding)

July 20th, 2017 6 comments

Most touchscreen displays aimed to be connected to a development board work through a display interface such as MIPI DSI or LCD RGB (and USB or I2C for touch support), and come with somewhat low resolution such as 800×480 which can be suitable for HMI applications. They also often don’t work with all boards due to the different interfaces used, and there’s no way to easily connect such small display to your computer. Taking those limitations into account, and since most boards and computers come with HDMI and USB ports, Elias Bakken and his team have added HDMI and USB ports to two smartphone displays, and Manga Screen 2 was born.

The two displays – made by Sharp – have the following hardware specifications:

Big (5.9”) Small (4.8”)
Resolution 1920×1080 1280×720
FPS (max) 60 57
Color mode 24-bit
PPI 376.2 307.9
Brightness 400 cd/m2 500 cd/m2
Contrast ratio 1000:1 800:1
Viewing angle 80 degrees
Power draw (max.) 600 mA 520 mA
Active area 129.6 x 72.9 mm 105.6 x 59.4 mm
Weight ~95 grams TBD
Outline size 150 x 82 mm TBD
Touch points 10

They added the electronics to convert HDMI signals to whatever interface the displays use, and a micro USB port for power and the touch screen interface. So those should pretty much be play and plug, and work with Raspberry Pi, ODROID, BeagleBone Black and other boards, as well as your computer, laptop, etc…
The project has launched on Kickstarter with the goal of raising 300,000 NOK (~$37,100 US). Rewards start at ~$83.5 US for the smaller 4.8″ screen, and ~$94 US for the 5.9″ screen. Those are early bird rewards, and retail price should be $99 for both displays? (Maybe a mistake on KS). Shipping adds 85 NOK ($10.5), and delivery is scheduled for October to the big screen, and December for the small one.

Potential projects include home automation interface, standalone Spotify player, pet food dispenser, 3D printer interface, and any project that may benefit from a ~5″ touchscreen display. The promo video demonstrates some of those applications.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

Le Potato Development Board Review – Part 1: Hardware and Accessories

July 17th, 2017 15 comments

Libre Computer launched AML-S905X-CC “Le Potato” board on Kickstarter last month, and since then there have been some updates such as worldwide shipping, so the board will now ship to most countries, not only in Europe or the US, and various designs of the case have been proposed. You can check the updates on Kickstarter for details.

Libre Computer Le Potato Kit Unboxing

The company also sent me a Le Potato board, but not only, as I received a complete kit…

… similar to the $99 “2GB eMMC kit” reward on KS with a board with 2GB RAM, a 64GB eMMC flash module, a HDMI cable, and a 5V/2.5A power supply with on/off switch, but a different case, cooling fan, and corresponding rubber pad and screws.

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The case exposes all external ports, and has holes on top for the fan.

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The other side includes the micro SD slot, plenty of ventilations holes, and some opening for jumper wires connected to the debug port, or some other headers.
The side of the 40-pin “Raspberry Pi” GPIO headers also has the same opening, so you could keep the case close even if you connect external hardware.

The bottom of the plate has two openings to allow for wall mounting, and four circles for the rubber pads.

The case came loose, but for good reasons, since you have to setup your board the way you want to before tightening the case. So I took about the board to have a look. I’ve already listed the specifications in the announcement post so I won’t go through hit again.

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The main change here is that the board is fitted with a small heatsink on top of Amlogic S905X processor. Note that board-only rewards in Kickstarter may not include that heatsink.

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The bottom side of the board has the remaining DDR3 memory (for the 2GB RAM board), the micro SD card slot, and if you have ordered an eMMC kit, a 64GB eMMC flash module, which you can take away.

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I visually compared it to ROCK64 flash module, and Hardkernel eMMC to micro SD card adapter, and the design is different with the two rows of pins closer on Libre Computer module.
The next step is to assemble the heatsink with four of the shorter screws, and add the rubber pads. A single longer screw will be used to keep the case tightened.

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But before that I connected the fan to 5V and GND on the 40-pin header, as well as my own USB to TTL debug board to the 3-pin serial header.

I assembled the case, and tightened it with the single screw, and it fits well. The jumper wires from my USB debug board can easily pass through the openings, and I can still move the wires around, so it’s not tight here.

Since I have an eMMC flash module likely pre-installed with an operating systems, I connected the power, HDMI and Ethernet cables. The fan works, and while it’s not that noisy, it still makes a little more noise than what I’ve used to on actively cooled mini PCs or TV boxes. Personally, it does not disturbs me, but some people may be annoyed by the noise. The easily solution is not to connect the fan, as many use cases won’t require it.

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Within around 30 seconds, the board booted to a familiar TV box launched in Android 7.1.

I’m waiting for the latest Android or Linux images before completing the second part of the review. I’ll likely test the Linux images if they are ready, rather than the Android one, since I’ve tested several Android TV boxes based on Amlogic S905X previously.

If you are interested in the board, there are still 6 days before the campaign ends, with pricing started at $25 with the 1GB RAM version of the board. I understand that even if the crowdfunding campaign fails, the board will go ahead, but possibly at a slightly higher price, as they’ve committed half a million dollars to the project according to the latest update in Kickstarter.

Diskio Pi 13.3″ Touch Panel Display Kit is Designed for Raspberry Pi and ODROID Boards (Crowdfunding)

June 27th, 2017 7 comments

If your project requires a touch panel, there are plenty of solutions for Raspberry Pi and ODROID boards, with Hardkernel even selling ODROID-VU8C fully integrated touch panel display. However, most display kits require you to make your own case, and feature smaller displays with lower resolution. One developer has however come up with Diskio Pi, a higher-end touch panel kit with a 13.3″ Full HD display that works with the most popular Raspberry Pi and ODROID boards.

Diskio Pi with Raspberry Pi 3 Running Pixel

Diskio Pi specifications:

  • Display –  13.3″ AUO TFT IPS display with 1920×1080 resolution connected via a 30-pin eDP connector ; 330 cd/m2 brightness; 85° viewing angles in all directions.
  • Touch panel – 10-point capacitive touch; G/G structure; USB 2.0 interface; ≥6H surface hardness.
  • Main board:
    • HDMI to eDP driver
    • Stereo sound amplifier
    • USB 2.0 hub with 3x ports:  2x external + 1x internal
    • Battery balance circuit (3S/3S2P)
    • Expansion – Various headers for prototyping (RJ45, USB…)
    • Misc – Left & right mouse buttons (home button, USB); circuit protection via fuses, diodes…
    • Power Supply – RJ45 POE+ (Power over Ethernet)
  • Rack board:
    • Connections with the board via cables: 4 x USB, 2 x Ethernet, 1 x Power, 1 x HDMI
    • Fan circuit with potentiometer (fan will be optional)
    • Speakers – 2x round 3W speakers
    • Power Supply – 5V 3A from main board
  • Power Supply – 15 or 18V AC/DC adapter with EU, UK or US plug
  • Battery  – Optional 6 cells LiPo 3.7V=11.1V, 8000mAh
  • Dimensions – 348 x 265 x 25 mm (Final dimensions may change slightly)
  • Weight – 1.8 kg (prototype)

Diskio Pi with ODROID-C2 Board

Diskio Pi is currently compatible with Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi 3, Raspberry Pi Zero (W), ODROID C1+, and ODROID C2, but later, a modified kit will offer support for ODROID XU4 and Intel Atom based UP board. You can run any operating system you’d like since HDMI is used for video output (and converted to eDP), and USB used for the touch panel. You’ll be able to use accessories like the official Raspberry Pi camera, and there’s even space to add extra boards or modules like an Arduino mini or sensors using the IO headers or the internal USB port. The kit could be use as a large (and thick) tablet, an home automation dashboard, a portable Linux computer, etc…

The project has just been launched on Kickstarter with the aim of raising at least 400,000 Euros, which may prove to be a challenge, but we’ll see. The “very early adopter pack” rewards requires a 350 Euros pledge for Diskio Pi with the power adapter, but no battery, nor a Raspberry Pi or ODROID board. The 45 Euros battery pack is optional is reserved “for users who don’t need the POE+ power”. Shipping adds 9 Euros to France, 16 Euros to most of Europe, and 36 Euros to the rest of the world, with delivery scheduled for February 2018. The person behind the project has 10-year experience as… an optician, but he’s been working on the prototype for 18 months, and Advansee will take care of the final embedded electronics design, while CD-Plast will handle the mechanical design, with both companies based in the west of France.

UP Core Intel Board Has Launched for 69 Euros and Up on Kickstarter

June 1st, 2017 2 comments

During spring, we discovered UP Core, a tiny board powered by Intel x5-Z8350 Cherry Trail processor  that promised to sell for as low as 69 Euros. But at the time, it was not available yet for purchase, and the good news is that UP has just launched a one month crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for mass production, and promote the board.

UP Core specifications have not changed since the first announcement:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD 400 graphics @ 200 / 500 MHz
  • System Memory –  1, 2 or 4 GB DDR3L-1600
  • Storage – 16, 32, or 64 GB eMMC flash, SPI flash ROM
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI 1.4 port, full eDP (embedded DisplayPort) connector
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI, and I2S
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi  @ 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP614A)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host port, 2x USB 2.0 via header
  • Camera I/F – 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • 100-pin docking connector with power signals, GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, SDIO, I2S, HDMI SMBUS, PMC signals, 2x USB HSIC, CSI, and PCIe Gen 2
    • 10-pin connector with 2x USB 2.0, 1x UART
  • Misc – Power & reset buttons, RTC battery header, fan connector, BIOS reflash connector
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A via 5.5/2.1mm power barrel
  • Dimensions – 66 x 56.50 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60 °C
  • Certifications – CE/FCC Class A, RoHS compliant, REACH

Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board supports Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT Core, Linux via Ubilinux, Ubuntu, and the Yocto Project, as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The block diagram shown in March also included an extension HAT connected to the 100-pin docking port, but we did not have many details. With the launch on Kickstarter two stackable expansion boards are available:

  • Expansion board A [BRKH01] carrying high-speed signals: 1c2 channel PCI Express switch, Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8111G-CG / RJ45), HSIC/USB ports, uSIM card reader, SD card, etc…
  • Expansion board B [BRKL01] based on MAX10 CPLD exposing low-speed signals such as RS-232/422/484, I2C, I2S, and GPIOs, as well as 12 to 24V power input

The documentation to make your own UP Core expansion board will be made available, so more are likely coming, and up to three expansion boards can be stacked under UP Core board. The company will also pay royalties to makers of expansion boards that are selected (by UP community) to be sold on their store.

A chassis for UP Core and its carrier boards is also available in your prefer to keep the boards in an enclosure.

The company goal is to raise at least 10,000 Euros, but they should reach a much higher level once the campaign is completed. Some of the most interesting rewards are:

  • 69 Euros (early bird) then 75 Euros for UP Core with 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC
  • 85 Euros (early bird) then 95 Euros for UP Core with 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC
  • 119 Euros (early bird) then 129 Euros for UP core with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC
  • 125 Euros starter pack with UP Core with 2GB RAM, 32 GB eMMC, aluminum chassis, AC adapter, and WiFi+Bt antenna
  • 189 Euros dev.pack with UP Core with 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, A & B expansion boards, AC adapter, and WiFi+Bt antenna

They also have variations up to the 225 Euros super pack with comes with the 4GB/64GB board, the two expansion boards, three aluminum chassis, and accessories. Shipping adds 16 to 27 Euros depending on the destination country, and delivery is scheduled for August to October 2017 depending on the selected reward.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

BuildOne is a $99 WiFi 3D printer with Auto Bed-Leveling (Crowdfunding)

May 26th, 2017 2 comments

3D printers have become more and more affordable with products like Anet A8 3D printer that sells for a little over $150, and now many models are below $200, such as the Prusa i3 clone just reviewed by Karl. But BuildOne is going a step further by bringing the price right below $100, at least during the Kickstarter campaign, and the basic model.

BuildOne 3D printer specifications and key features:

  • Print volume –  125 x 125 x 125 mm
  • Minimum layer resolution – 50 microns (100 to 300 recommended for most prints)
  • Horizontal position resolution – 20 microns / 0.02 mm
  • Filament size – 1.75 mm
  • Filament type – PLA (ABS, nylon, and more with heated bed)
  • Notable features – Auto-calibration, auto leveling,  LED status, panic button to interrupt prints, modularity with easy to replace parts and optional add-ons
  • Connectivity – WiFi to print from web browser or smartphone
  • Power Supply – 12V
  • Dimensions – fits inside a 200mm cube
  • Weight – About 2 kgs

The 3D printer uses a modified version of the Marlin firmware with the ability to have the head unit communicate via I2C to reduce the wiring required and allow for future upgrades. That’s also mean you’ll be able to modify the 3D printer source code if you wish to do so. The printer is compatible with most sliders and interfaces sch as Slic3r, Cura, Craftware, etc…, and can also optionally connect to a cloud service, so you could print from anywhere, as long as your print is online.

Four models are available:

  • BuildOne Basic Edition ($99)
  • BuildOne Plus Edition ($114) with extra PEI build plate
  • BuildOne Deluxe Edition  ($149) ABS ready, with display upgrade, PEI build plate, and heated bed
  • BuildOne Ultimate Edition ($174) based on Deluxe Edition plus a full enclosure and carrying case

You can also pledge for upgrades independently:

  • $35 for heated PEI bed
  • $15 for display upgrade with OLED display, tactile joystick
  • $30 for full enclosure and carrying case
  • $15 for premium PLA filament spool

Robotic Industries LLC, the startup behind the project, aimed to reach $100,000, and they’ve already done that with 27 days to go. Shipping adds $20 to $25 for the basic edition, and goes up if you add more options (up to $30 to $45). Delivery is scheduled for September 2017, so it’s look like they are basically done with development, and are just getting funds for mass production. Some crowdfunding campaigns fail, and the number of failures appear to be even greater for 3D printer projects (actually an unrelated $100 3D printer KS project was a scam), but Robotic Industries LLC claims to have a proven and experienced team, as well as industry partners such as Digistump, and Rigao electronics. Their website currently contained a picture with a link to Kickstarter.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: 3d printing, kickstarter