Core77 Design Awards
- Other Years
Made for girls and boys ages 7 and up, Little Robot Friends are connected toys for learning code and electronics in a fun way. They're pocket-sized robots you can program to perform tricks, play games, sing songs, and customize their personalities. The activities allow for development of technical literacy, creativity, and social-emotional learning.
From arts and crafts to computer programming, we want to empower kids to create their own special characters in infinitely unique ways, while also exploring their creative side with storytelling.
Little Robot Friends are available in two kits: Ready to Play ($79.99 USD) & Ready to Make ($74.99 USD). The Ready to Make kit is great for young makers learning to solder. Each robot has a face circuit and a programmable base circuit. They're packed with several electronic components and sensors for you to tap, tickle, hug, tilt, and shake! Their parts include 2 RGB LEDs, 3 touch-capacitive sensors, a 1/4 W speaker, a microphone, a photocell, an accelerometer, an IR sensor, a WiFi chip, a 32-bit micro-controller, and a rechargeable li-po battery.
For beginners, we developed a drag-and-drop app that connects to the robot so you can easily customize different expressions with just a few simple actions. For pros, Little Robot Friends are compatible with the open-source platform Arduino, for tackling advanced projects like programming your robot to be an Internet of Things device.
There are tons of customizable experiences waiting to be discovered!
Back in 2013, the original Little Robot Friends toy was created as a do-it-yourself soldering kit. After launching a successful Kickstarter campaign with over 5,000 global orders, we dedicated the next three years to improving the usability and accessibility of the product. Today, Little Robot Friends is an educational hardware tool and software platform, providing a continuum of learning in areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).
Our design process focused on several key areas with respect to developing a product where kids, makers, and educators can experiment with a wide range of open-ended activities.
Little Robot Friends are gender-neutral toys currently available in three characters: Spikey, Ghosty, and Curvy. The face circuit is made of simple electronic parts representing anatomical features like hair, eyes, hands, mouth, and more. The minimal design of the face circuit invites kids to experiment with their own unique characters without limiting their imagination to gender-norms and stereotypes.
We believe everyone has their own brilliant ideas to share with the world. Little Robot Friends (LRF) help spark your maker spirit with a vast range of customizable opportunities such as character building, storytelling, designing, and coding.
LRF App: Connect your robot to our drag-and-drop companion app to create custom musical expressions. Is your robot excited, hysterical, sleepy, or mad? Learn how to map these expressions to different sensors in order to develop your Little Robot Friend's special personality.
LRF Arduino Library: Access the Little Robot Friends Arduino Library for advanced programming projects. We believe Arduino's open-source nature and rich programming community will benefit kids, teenagers, and adults in their journey to becoming code wizards. The open-source software allows for the free exchange of resources and ideas, so you can learn from other community members. Use the LRF Arduino Library to introduce real-world programming logic to your Little Robot Friends, so they can respond in complex manners, such as interfacing with their environment and communicating with other robots.
Creations & Lessons: All of the Little Robot Friend's character creations and coding lessons are available online for our community members. This includes tricks, games, songs, and print-out costumes, which are free to download at www.littlerobotfriends.com. Tune into the Little Robot Friends YouTube channel for step-by-step soldering, crafting, and coding tutorials.
Add-ons and accessories:
We believe the future of play favours flexibility, so we wanted to create opportunities for adding fun accessories to the robots. The face circuit and base circuit (a.k.a. 'brain') are detachable components, so you can swap between different character faces. Each face circuit has a tiny black memory chip, which stores all of your character creations made in the LRF App or LRF Arduino Library. In the coming months, we aim to expand options for add-ons and accessories, such as Little Robot Friend's 3D printed costumes and a motorized car.
From homes, makerspaces, and schools, we aim to grow Little Robot Friends as an educational tool and platform to help engage kids in the fascinating world of electronics and code. Every kid should have the power to imagine, experiment, and develop their own creations, while also gaining the critical 21st century skills to succeed in the future. We believe in the power of letting kids discover learning for themselves. As we continue to grow our community, we'll be developing a block-based visual coding app, an interactive game, and a musical creator to introduce new avenues for fun and engagement.