Get ready to race these open-source, 3D-printed toy bots


Control these open-source, 3D-printable race cars with your mobile device.


As a way to get more young Makers interested in pursuing STEM-related fields, one Cambridge startup has launched a set of customizable, open-source race car kits. Cannybot Racers are 3D-printable, Bluetooth-enabled toy vehicles that can be remotely controlled using any mobile device, or even a Raspberry Pi.

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Keeping in line with the burgeoning Maker Movement, the cars are super simple to create on just about any desktop printer, and can be programmed using Arduino, Blockly, mbed, Python or Scratch. Each Cannybot is comprised of several 3D-printed structural components — such as the chassis, top cover and wheels — that every school with access to a machine can construct in their lab, along with the addition of some low-cost hardware components. This includes a small yet powerful single board controller, dubbed the BlueBrain, which is driven by an ARM Cortex-M0 processor and features a Bluetooth 4.0 module and various motor controllers. The belly of the Arduino-compatible bot is also equipped with line sensor used to detect the track as it makes its way around.

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“The openness of the platform enables students and those looking to begin tinkering around delve deeper — peeking behind their visual programming to see the Arduino code that actually runs on the robots — and physically taking apart and reassembling their Cannybots to see how the components fit together and communicate,” the team writes.

Not only can users purchase one of a few tracks printed on high-quality PVC material, which range from figure-eight tracks to complicated mazes, but Makers can just as easily use standard black electrical tape (or A4/A3 paper using a home printer) to design their own raceway on any hard surface.

Intrigued? Race on over to the project’s official page, or watch them in action below!

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