Robotics Technology
BeatBots Continues Socially Conscious Innovation
Marek from BeatBots with a Keepon Pro
Marek from BeatBots with a Keepon Pro

Dr. Marek Michalowski co-founded BeatBots with Dr. Hideki Kozima in 2007. Their creation, the Keepon Pro, is used as a therapeutic tool for interaction with children with autism and other developmental disorders. A therapist remotely controls the cute and non-imposing robot and can view and record the child’s responses via the Keepon Pro’s camera.

Following the amazing popular response to this video, BeatBots created My Keepon, a much more affordable toy version which manages to maintain the essential cuteness of the original. BeatBots was one of the many robots on display at Maker Faire this weekend.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/18429174 w=400&h=300]

Continuing their direction of creating therapeutic tools, BeatBots has created the Gobug. Gobug is a mobile robotic toy planned for use in therapy sessions for autistic kids. Control requires communication and collaboration by multiple children. An additional controller used by a therapist allows him or her to step in if necessary.

Closeup of BeatBots new Gobug
A sneak peek at BeatBots new Gobug

If Gobug is successful, a toy version may be released, following in the footsteps of Keepon.

Speaking of Keepon, look for an upcoming issue of MAKE where Marek will be sharing some secrets of hacking the My Keepon.

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Andrew Terranova is an electrical engineer, writer and author of How Things Are Made: From Automobiles to Zippers. Andrew is also an electronics and robotics enthusiast and has created and curated robotics exhibits for the Children's Museum of Somerset County, NJ and taught robotics classes for the Kaleidoscope Enrichment in Blairstown, NJ and for a public primary school. Andrew is always looking for ways to engage makers and educators.

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