We’re pleased to announce the award of a two-year $486,906 grant from the US National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR Phase II) program. The grant project is called “Learning About Complexity through Programming Modular Robots” and it’s for our work developing a system through which kids interact with our modular robot kits. You can read the abstract at the NSF or take a look at our formal press release.
One great thing about this grant is that it will let us speed up. Until now, we’ve been running Modular Robotics on a very tight budget with a very small team. Our prototypes are still assembled in Eric’s garage. The SBIR funding will allow us to hire three more people, move into a “real” studio, and make many more robots much more quickly.
Another great thing is that it will let us slow down. Like any small business, we’ve been a little harried recently. We’ve been trying to get our robot kit out the door as quickly as possible before we run out of money. It’s expensive to make lots of tiny robots, so we’ve been making a lot of compromises in our rush to get something available. Although we’re still going to have a first round of robot kits available this summer, the grant funding allows us to pay attention to the fine details of the design and make sure we’re releasing our robots thoughtfully and deliberately.
Anyway, we’re thrilled. Coming soon: thousands and thousands of tiny robots.