Woo! I’m pleased to announce the new Battery Cubelet. We’ve been working on designing and developing it for quite a while. The new Battery Cubelet has a lithium polymer battery with micro USB charging, so you no longer have to remove the cells from the Cubelet to charge it like with the old version.
The new Battery Cubelet lasts about 30% longer than the old one and it charges more quickly too. Turns out it’s also a lot easier for us to manufacture: we generate fewer scrapped and wasted parts with the new design than with the old.
Back in 2010 when we launched the old Battery Cubelet, most of the little robots made their way to science centers, children’s museums, and schools where they were often in use for all-day sessions. We chose to make the battery cells removable so that these places could buy a bunch of extra cells to keep Cubelets going for a huge day instead of having to buy a bunch of extra Battery Cubelets. It turned out, though, that swapping batteries in and out of Cubelets was just straight annoying and the chargers were clunky to use and slow.
One of the more unique aspects of Cubelets is that it’s a distributed system. When you build a typical robot, you build a plastic and metal body, and then you switch your attention to a laptop and program the brain. With Cubelets, you snap together a bunch of little brain modules that all work together and form a body. If you’re OK with carrying the metaphor a little further, Cubelets most certainly do have a heart: every robot needs a Battery Cubelet to provide power — without it, a construction is dead. That’s why this upgrade is such a big deal.
The new Battery Cubelet is available now on it’s own, as part of the SIX kit, and as part of the big TWENTY kit. Psyched! We didn’t launch many new Cubelets this year, but the new Battery Cubelet is a big one.