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News Link • Robots and Artificial Intelligence

These $10 Robots Will Change Robotics Education

•, By Nathan Hurst
 When the African Robotics Network announced their $10 robot design challenge this summer, co-founder Ken Goldberg was careful not to share too many expectations, lest he influence contestants' designs. But he never imagined one of the winning entries would prominently feature a pair of Spanish lollipops.

The challenge, hosted by AFRON co-founders Goldberg and Ayorkor Korsah, emphasized inexpensive designs to help bring robotics education to African classrooms. Goldberg announced AFRON's 10 winners in three categories today at Maker Faire, including the lollipop-laden Suckerbot and traditional (roaming) category first prize winner Kilobot, a Harvard-spawned three-legged, vibrating, swarming robot.

"The ingenuity that has come from all over the world to address this problem is just astounding," Goldberg said in an interview with Wired Design. "And we're very excited about the next step, which is that once they're awarded, some of them will become available products."

The contest had a few simple restrictions, including the loose $10 target; entrants from around the world had to build a prototype, offer instructions on a website, and make the whole plan open-source, software included. The winners were little, an inch or two in size and up, never more than a foot long. They were sourced from cardboard, old cell phones, and circuit boards. They performed simple tasks: navigating, following lines, even communicating with each other.

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