Oct 26, 2015 | By Kira

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, shortened to STEM, is becoming increasingly important to the survival of humanity, as many of our social, economic, health and ecologic problems require innovative, technology-based solutions that can be put into practice and really work. Our future, and the future of our children, therefore relies on proper STEM education, starting as early as possible. Yet it’s one thing to try and make the world a better place, and another to do it in a fun and completely accessible manner, open to even the most inexperienced or disadvantaged learners. An ambitious team of scientists, engineers, and students in Croatia has launched an Indiegogo campaign today that they hope will do just that.

STEMI is a hexapod robot that is controlled with a smartphone app and moves quite like a spider. More than just a robot, however, STEMI is intended to be a learning experience, teaching users aged 13 and up the basics of 3D modeling, electronics, Arduino programming and mobile app programming—the kinds of skills they’ll require to shape our future. In the future, 3D printable custom covers will also be made available for those wanting to learn 3D printing technology. Though it is primarily intended for children, there’s no reason adult tinkerers can’t learn a little something, or just have fun with it, too.

The kit comes with an Arduino DUE compatible board, custom printed circuit board, 18 servo motors, a battery pack, aluminum body parts, rubber leg caps, and various nuts and spacers. By learning how to assemble each individual part, program the motors, and code with the mobile app, users will be able to make the creepy-cute robot change height, walk in three different nature-inspired ways, perform complex movements, and dance. Many useful YouTube tutorials will be made available online, such as one that explains very clearly what a servo motor is, and the difference between a servo and regular electric motor. To ensure learning success, the team is also offering Skype tutoring from the actual engineering team for those who are really in need.

STEMI also has a strong ‘social responsibility’ angle—it’s not just about making education fun, but about spreading it to as many children as possible so that they can all have a chance at making a difference in the world. To that end, the founders have promised to make STEMI’s source code, blueprints, and 3D models completely free and open source. In addition, Indiegogo sponsors will have the opportunity to select a Donation Package, and send STEMI kits directly to the school or institution of their choice.

That’s because the company’s founders, Luca Fućek, Pavao Pahljina, Marin Trošelj, Antun Vukičević, Vlatko Klabučar, and Josip Vukičević were all childhood inventors themselves, and know firsthand just how intensely rewarding and exciting it can be to see your very own creation come to life before your eyes.

The Indiegogo campaign launched today and has already raised $3,500 of its $16,000 goal. The entry point for getting your own STEMI starts at just $235 ($279 if you want a 3D printed cover, $339 for a kit + private Skype tutoring), which is not bad at all considering you, your kids, or students could receive the kinds of skills and knowledge needed to shape our very future.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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