3D Printing & Imaging Home Robotics
Alt.CES: Robot Balls and 3D Cubes

I saw that my friend Thomas Edwards, tech artist and Dorkbot Overlord, was going to be at CES, so I asked him to share some thoughts on maker-friendly offerings at the event. Here’s what he sent. – Gareth

Sphereo is a radio-controlled robotic sphere, about the size of a tennis ball. While driving around a white sphere with an internal colored LED with your smart phone is pretty fun in itself, the Sphereo creators are dedicated to having an open API so that makers can link up the Sphereo with their own robotic algorithms!

Here is a short video of the Sphereo in action:

Cubify is a 3D printing service from 3D Systems. The service allows you to upload your 3D models and share them with or sell them to other Cubify members. If you upload an STL file and your 3D model passes a “3D Print Certification” that it can be made on a 3D printer, you can then order up a 3D print to be made.

Cubify is going a step beyond online ordering of 3D prints with their new Cube home 3D printer ($1299 MSRP). It will print objects as large as a 5.5-inch cube. ABS plastic print material comes in an EZ Load Print Cartridge ($50 MSRP) in up to 10 colors. STL printing files can be sent to the Cube on a USB memory stick or through a WiFi upload.

While not open source hardware like MakerBot, the Cube will ship as a complete device ready to make things rather than a kit (such as the Thing-O-Matic), and is expected to have an MSRP below the MakerBot Replicator assembled kit. Nice to see some competition going on in this area!

Here is a quick video look at the Cubify Cube:

Thomas Edwards is a broadcast engineer and part-time technological artist living in Los Angeles, CA. He is a member of the Crash Space hackerspace, and co-curates the Dorkbot SoCal tech art organization.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn