New AI Enables Custom Robot Construction via Smartphone App


A smartphone. / Photo by: Tero Vesalainen via Pixabay


Most robot models have a monotonous or unusual look that may bother some people. Smartibot, however, has a grinning face packed in a cardboard kit. This model is the first cardboard robot equipped with artificial intelligence.

Smartibot is a Kickstarter project and its developer said that the AI in the bot may be used in nearly every reusable part, such as cardboard, clay, and even potatoes. While standard builds of robots use an embedded system, this one utilizes a smartphone as its “brain.” A user can either attach the smartphone or use it as a remote control.

The AI system running on the bot is called YOLO. It recognizes objects, people, and animals, and does not rely on any programming skill of the user. Certain actions like chasing a pet cat or dog, and following its owner can be performed by Smartibot. It can also travel around carrying two glasses of drinks if the user constructed a bot model with enough space.

“With Smartibot you can keep on building. You can build your robots out of almost anything around the house, even a potato. You just re-use the circuit board, motors and battery box and attach them to your magnificent creation. The only limit is your imagination,” developers stated at Kickstarter.

The package includes several parts to construct complex robot designs. So far, the Smartibot package has up to 14 motors composed of 4 DCs and 10 servos to create wheeled robots, four-legged robots, trucks, and airboats. 

A dedicated app installed on the smartphone enables customization of robotic behavior to accommodate the model’s construction. The user does not need any codes to define its behavior. The application even permits the behavior of robot tanks, a xylophone-playing robot, and a robot armed with a water pistol turret.