EdTech startup Robotical secures grant to build new robot
Edinburgh-based edtech startup, Robotical, has been awarded the Global Innovators Grant from Expo 2020 Dubai, adding a funding boost while the company was in the infancy of its Kickstarter campaign which went on to smash its target of £30,000, raising a total of £43,291.
Dr Alexander Enoch, CEO & Founder launched Robotical in 2016 with its first product, Marty - a patent-pending, fully programmable walking robot designed to inspire children to take up careers in science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, by enabling teachers to make lessons in these subjects more interactive and fun for the students.
Thousands of units of Marty were delivered and used in over 150 schools in more than 50 countries, and helped children to learn robotics, coding and programming skills from an early age. Marty is a fully programmable, WiFi enabled walking robot which is entirely customisable with 3D printed parts, and can be upgraded with a Raspberry Pi computer and a camera.
Off the back of the success of Marty, which saw widespread investment from primary and secondary schools, Robotical launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop Marty v2.
"I backed Marty v2 because my students love coding, and he is a very versatile robot that is easy to use. They were able to code from day one, right out of the box, using skills that build on what we are doing in our classroom coding lessons,” says Jami Shields, primary school teacher at La Villita Elementary, Texas, and Kickstarter backer. “My students got so excited about v1, backing v2 was the logical next step. We are particularly interested in the grabbing hand and the additional sensors, and of course the lights sound exciting. I can’t wait until he arrives in my classroom and the students literally cheered when I told them I backed the robot on Kickstarter and that he was fully funded!"
Marty the Robot v2 - The walking, dancing, coding companion
With the funds awarded by the Global Innovators Grant from Expo 2020 Dubai and the successful Kickstarter campaign, Robotical is using the funds to finalise development of Marty v2 and begin mass production, hopefully introducing the product into schools by March 2020.The funding will enable Robotical to scale up operations, and the team has set a target of 6,000 new students being reached in 2020 alone.
Yousuf Caires, Senior Vice President, Expo Live, Expo 2020 Dubai said: “As one of the most inspiring and human aspects of Expo 2020, Expo Live is supporting innovators, whose solutions are making a real impact on people’s lives, in every corner of the world, with funding, guidance and exposure. We are delighted to support Expo Live Global Innovator Robotical, which is making learning about robotics and STEM subjects fun – helping to future proof the next generation with the education and skills required to succeed in the modern economy. We look forward to seeing the launch of Marty v2 which promises to further inspire and equip children with the tools they need to reach their full potential.”
Marty v2 builds upon the design of Marty, and includes further functionality and movements, as well as smart sensors, motors to enable 'grabbing hands', obstacle detection, Bluetooth compatibility, sound capability and a 'Disco Marty' setting.
- Movement: Walking, Dancing, Turning, Kicking
- Interactive: With an array of sensors including position, tilt, proximity and force, and a built in speaker, Marty can talk and play sounds, feel, and even shake hands
In addition to Marty v2, Robotical is also developing a new learning platform to help make Marty as user friendly as possible, which is expected to be available before the end of 2020.
“Firstly, I want to thank all of our Kickstarter backers and Expo 2020 Dubai for awarding us the grant. This money will really allow us to accelerate production of Marty v2, scale up our operations and start some great new initiatives including a robotics competition. Having witnessed the joy that Marty has spread in schools, I am looking forward to seeing how pupils and teachers respond to the new features we have been working on for v2,” said Sandy Enoch, Founder and CEO of Robotical.
“We hope that by making STEM subjects as engaging as possible, we can inspire children into taking up careers in these industries and plugging the skills gap in the job market. Failing to do so will have serious repercussions on the UK in the long term, so hopefully our ongoing product development will be able to help create excitement in these subjects at a young age.”