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Meccano has grown into The Meccanoid, a self-build robot for kid

 

Wow, Meccano has certainly brought itself up to date with the Meccanoid.

Meccano is the company that entertained generations of kids with metal strips, angles with holes and lots of nuts and bolts and wheels, axles and gears to make cars, cranes and trains.

It is the company that inspired Steve Jobs and excited him to the possibilities of what could be built. This is the company that has come up with a robot that kids can make themselves.

The Meccanoid has been known about for some time. Back in January there was quite a stir when the Meccanoid G15 KS self-build robotic kit was unveiled at London’s Toy Show.

It was styled ‘a walking, talking companion that is capable of responding to instructions and mirroring movements.’ It is about 4 feet tall (122 cms), is made from lightweight, high-impact polycarbonate and was reviewed as ‘ a cross between WALL-E and Johnny Five.

High Spec

The website gives more details of the straight G15 model (about two feet tall) and the KS (Kid Sized) one. ‘Advanced yet easy to use,’ you get your own robotics building platform with the latest Meccano bits.

They come with three available ways to program – LIM (Learned Intelligent Movement), Ragdoll Avatar and Motion Capture which ‘mimics your moves’.

The killer sales pitch may be contained in the line: ‘Meccanoid G15 KS and Meccanoid G15 will respond to voice commands with more than 1000 pre-programmed phrases, including jokes and fun facts. They’ll also walk with you, shake hands and even give you a high-five!’

It doesn’t have to be a human shape that you build – they suggest a dinosaur or ‘a heart, a hand, a copter, a legacy, a dream.’

All the parts are compatible with traditional Meccano and with this you can just go on building up and adding to. Presumably new programs will add new options as time goers on.

It’s Educational, Of Course

It will naturally appeal to boys and girls of all ages including adults. But the makers have a serious purpose too. Meccano is owned by Spin Master and Executive Vice President and chief creative officer Ben Varadi made public his view that ‘the erector set toy is designed to teach young tinkerers the basics of programming, with simple buttons for accessing its functions. It could ‘help create a new generation of gifted young engineers.’

They can be ordered now for around $180 for the main one and $400 for the kid sized one. So if you can’t do that just yet, it might be worth putting on your Christmas/Birthday/promotion/retirement wishlist….

In meantime, check out this coding blog:

Filling the Gaps in Britain’s Coding Skills, 20 July 2015

and these robot-friendly blogs:

Ex Machina: The Ghost from the Machine Should Scare Us All, 30 June 2015

Make Friends With Robotics, There Is No Other Choice, 2 March 2015

Robot Armies Filling All the Best Jobs Are the Spectre Facing the World Soon, 24 September 2014

Domestic Robots Are But a Few Months Away from Rescuing Us, 25 March 2014

Image: Lady alys