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Dobot is crowdfunding a robot that laser-engraves, 3D prints and much more

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Robotic arms seem like theybelong in Sci-Fi movies, car factories and the dreams of DIY nerds. Dobot wants to change that, with a shiny new Kickstarter campaign bringing entry-level robotics to the desktop. The robotis extendable and can beequipped to deal with any number of tasks, including cutting, moving, printing, picking-upping, soldering and a ton of other -ings.

Dobot M1 started at $999, but by the time youre reading this, the five lucky super-early-bird backers have already snapped up the bargain-basement editions. The current cheapest version costs $1,399, but the price will raise again in another 40 units or so.

  1. dobot-move

    Dobot is great in case your chewing gum packs keep getting misaligned.
  2. dobot-print

    With the print head, it 3D prints stuff.
  3. dobot-engrave

    Add a laser to it, and it doubles as a weapon system for Star Wars. And, I suppose, to engrave wooden blocks.
  4. dobot-solder

    This is my favorite though: It solders stuff! Who's a good robot? That's right. You are. You're a good robot.

The robot comes with two toolheads included with the base package, with a choice from a 3D printer head, a 4th axis attachment, a laser engraver, suction cup or gripper hand. Additional toolheads can be added for $80 a pop. Theres also a series of advanced tools available, including a $200 3D mouse. And $600 buys you a visual kit (which adds computer vision to the robot), a soldering kit (enabling the robot to do soldering for you!) ora rail attachment that increases the range of the robot.

For a cool $6,099, you can buy a full mobility platform that turns this cute little robot into the ultimate cat-terrorizing device. Or, yknow, I suppose you could use the mobility platform for good rather than for evil.

Programmable & extendable

The robot can be programmed in a number of ways. You can put it into learning mode and you can grab its head and move it around the robot records the movements and repeats them until it gets bored. Which, given that its a robot, might take a while. It also comes with a number of programming tools, APIs and SDKs, meaning that if you know how to code, you can probably figure out how to program the robot to do your bidding.

Nobodys going to argue that robots arent awesome, but as this is a Kickstarter campaign, the company is still facing quite a few hurdles before it is ready to ship.

Dobot M1 isnt the first robotic arm to find its way onto Kickstarter. FLX.ARM raised $83,000 and was scheduled to ship in January 2015, but wasnt able to get its robots to backers until July/August this year. Makerarm raised $440,000 earlier this yearand was scheduled to ship in October, but has also run into a series of delays.

The Dobot company has shipped several robots in the past, mostly aimed at educational use, including the $1,200 Dobot Magician and the $900 Dobot Arm v1.0. Dobots M1 is the companys first robot aimed at light manufacturing.

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