Category Archives: Crowdfunding Updates

Announcing the Play-i Apps

We’ve gotten a lot of excited emails asking when our apps will be available. While they are not available in the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store yet, we thought we would share a sneak preview below!

Announcing the Play i Apps

Go is where everyone will begin with Bo and Yana. Here we have the getting started tutorials, a remote control, and some fun surprises along the way! Go is where your child will learn all about Bo and Yana and become comfortable controlling the robots.

Announcing the Play i Apps

Blockly was developed using a visual coding language for more advanced kids. Commands are dragged onto the screen, telling Bo to do things like turn left when it senses a wall or run away when it hears a clap. Yana can do things like change light colors when tapped! Blockly was originally developed by Google. Your child can become familiar with a version of the language here: https://blockly-games.appspot.com/

Announcing the Play i Apps

Xylo teaches loops as your child tells Bo to play different melodies on our Xylophone!

Announcing the Play i Apps

Path allows your children to tell Bo where to go by dragging their finger along the screen. Virtual worlds like a race track make play even more imaginative! By adding in sounds, events, or loops, your child can create a real race day experience. Events and sequences are shown visually, which is easier to grasp for little learners.

This is just a quick update on what we have been up to while we work on getting Bo & Yana to you. We hope you are as excited as we are! As always, if you have questions, email support@play-i.com

 

How it Works: Making Injection Molds for Bo & Yana’s Parts

How it Works: Making Injection Molds for Bo & Yana’s Parts

As part of our crowdfunding journey, we are inviting you and your kids to take a look behind the scenes to see how Bo & Yana are made. The first major step of the manufacturing process after we finalized electrical and mechanical designs is tooling! Before we explain what tooling is, here’s a video about how each part in Bo & Yana is made in our factory.

    1. Plastic pellets go into the hopper of the machine, which sends them into the injection system.
    2. The plastic is heated, melted, and squeezed together so that it can be pushed into a mold that is in the shape of each robot part.
    3. The plastic is cooled and ejected into a bucket. From there, it will be assembled into the final robot!

Just like stencils or cookie cutters help you quickly make shapes, injection molds help us quickly make robot parts! We need to make thousands of robots each month, and building the right foundation will make sure robots can be produced efficiently with consistent quality.

How it Works: Making Injection Molds for Bo & Yana’s Parts

This is the machine in our factory. Do you see the hopper? It is shaped like a funnel.

Right now we are making over 100 injection molds that will help us make all the parts that go into Bo & Yana. And tooling is the process of making the molds. Check out this video to see how injection molds are made!

A lot of time and work goes into building each mold, and the entire process takes 2 months. In fact, Mikal and Vikas, two founders of Play-i, will be in China next week making sure each mold is perfect so that Bo & Yana come out just right.

How it Works: Making Injection Molds for Bo & Yana’s Parts

Here’s an example of an injection mold and the part that it made!

We were really floored by the kind words of encouragement and enthusiasm you sent us after we shared our manufacturing schedule. Thank you so much for being amazing customers, and we know your kids are eagerly waiting for the robots to arrive. We encourage you to share this post and videos with them over the weekend so they can learn about how robot parts, and many other things in their lives, are made!

Announcing Shipping Dates for Bo & Yana

Many of you have been asking when Bo & Yana will be shipped to you. We’ve started the bulk of our manufacturing process and are ready to announce our schedule. Building a robot that is fun, safe, and durable has taken a bit longer than we expected. Here’s a handy infographic that shows all the steps that go into getting Bo & Yana to you.

Announcing Shipping Dates for Bo & Yana

Right now we are in the middle of tooling, which is a 2-month process during which we’ll build over 100 machine molds needed to make all the parts that go into Bo & Yana. Our first shipments will go out in order of backer number* starting on October 11. It takes about a week to get to your doorstep from our factory, so you’ll be receiving your robots shortly after we ship.

This date is later than the Summer 2014 date we originally announced, and we sincerely apologize for the delay. There were still a lot of unknowns after our crowdfunding campaign, and we worked hard to finalize our schedule with our manufacturers to ship as early as possible. The hardest part of the process has been balancing our desire to produce robots that meet our incredibly high standards while meeting our delivery goal of this summer. Since several key improvements have been made since our original prototypes, we were forced to make sacrifices on the schedule.

Mechanical & Electrical Design – revisions for production

The first step of the process is taking the electrical and mechanical designs in our prototype and making them work in production. We worked closely with the engineers at our manufacturing site to test and revise the designs, which took a little longer than we expected. We made lots of revisions to our prototype, and you’ll be getting a better and more powerful robot as a result.

Most notably, the following changes were made:

  • New motors and custom gearboxes on Bo, making it faster and stronger on a variety of different surfaces.
  • Battery life improvements due to both a battery upgrade and reduced power consumption.
  • Increased processing power and memory on the robots so that they can store and execute more programs at the same time.

These and many other improvements will make the play and learning experience of Bo & Yana a lot better!

Engineering pilot tests

We are being conservative in scheduling multiple rounds of engineering prototype tests so that we can make sure that Bo & Yana are in tip top shape in terms of reliability, durability, and safety. We hold ourselves to high standards of quality and want to ship a product we know you’ll love.

Some extra goodies

These new features didn’t play a role in pushing back the date, but we are excited to share them with you since they were added on after the crowdfunding campaign. Bo used to have one microphone. We replaced it with 3 microphones, so Bo now knows what direction sounds are coming from. This allows you to program Bo to come to you when you call it and face you when you are talking to it!

When designing our play experience, we thought of many exciting new uses for Yana. We added 3 more buttons to the top of Yana so that you can do a lot more programming with it too! There are also now 12 LEDs in Bo & Yana’s eye instead of sixteen because twelve is a better number for fractions, and the eye can be programmed to be a clock.

We are thinking every day about how to improve the learning and play experience and can’t wait to start showing you our iPad/Android interfaces! We take our commitment and promises to you very seriously. We also want to be transparent about the progress we’re making, so at the end of each week I’ll post a recap of where we are. Please feel free to email us over at support@play-i.com if you have any questions or concerns at all.

 

*Your backer number was shown on the confirmation screen when you ordered. If you’d like to find out what it is, please contact us directly!

Update #9: Our $1 million stretch goal unlocks a whole new world for Bo!

It seems like the last 3 weeks in our campaign has flown by. With over $800k raised, we are now well on our way to getting Bo & Yana to you. We are so grateful for your support and want to show it by giving you a token of our appreciation. We’ve been scratching our heads trying to think of an even better stretch goal than the xylophone, and we know you’ll really like the next one.

When we hit $1 million, we will release the Smartphone Mount that unlocks a whole new world of capabilities for Bo. The best part? You don’t even have to do anything to get it because we will be adding the Smartphone Mount to your Accessory Pack for free!

Introducing… the Smartphone Mount

Turn Bo into spy, a messenger, or a treasure hunter. Your smartphone is mounted to Bo’s head, giving you the remote (and programmatic!) capability to turn, point, and shoot. Unlock new levels of programming and play with Bo. With advanced algorithms, you can help Bo detect objects and people too! Simply attach your smartphone to the mount and then connect it via Bluetooth to your tablet device to make it work.

Update #9: Our $1 million stretch goal unlocks a whole new world for Bo!

What does this mean for developers? The smartphone can connect directly to Bo over Bluetooth Low Energy, or to another controlling touch device. As a developer, you can write smartphone applications that will use the camera for things like video streaming and object recognition. These will give extra abilities to Bo and will add more modes to the programming applications you create. Because we realize that many more of you might now be interested in developing applications for Bo, we opened up the developer program to 50 more people.

Help us spread the word and get to $1 million by using the sharing buttons below!

Update #8: Play-i is now shipping to India, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore!

We started Play-i with the mission to bring computer programming to every child. From the beginning of our crowdfunding campaign, we’ve gotten letters from folks all over the world asking us to ship to their country. We listened, and are officially opening up India, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore!

Update #8: Play i is now shipping to India, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore!

Shipping to these countries will be a flat $50 for up to 5 robot packs. We know that it’s pricier than other countries we are shipping to, but if you can get your friends and neighbors to reserve robots together everyone saves on shipping!

We are really excited to get Bo & Yana out to Asia;  Bo & Yana are excited to be on four continents! There is only a week left in our campaign, and we need your help. Please help out by telling your friends and family in those countries!

Update #7: We reached $700k! Introducing Bo’s Xylophone

With just a week left in our crowdfunding campaign, we are at the home stretch! At over 3,000 backers strong and $700k raised, our Bo & Yana prototypes are buzzing with excitement that they’ll get to reach lots of children around the world. Thank you for being amazing supporters of our project.

Many of you have been asking for it, and it’s finally time to release Bo’s Xylophone! Your programming chops, with the help of Bo’s Xylophone, will transform Bo into Beethoven or even Beyonce.

Our application will come with pre-programmed tracks with songs such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “Jingle Bells.”  Music provides a structure that children are familiar with, and programming movements along with a song introduces concepts such as parallelism. Children can program the robot to smile, blink, or dance during the performance. Later they can then start composing their own songs and looking under the hood to see the code that runs the programs.

In order to add the xylophone, you will have to hit “Reserve Now” button on the main page, and check out on PayPal with the xylophone in your cart. As with accessories and extensions, there is no shipping fee anywhere in the world for the xylophone — we will add it to your robot shipments when they come to you!

Update #7: We reached $700k! Introducing Bos Xylophone

The xylophone is pretty cool, if you ask us. We were scratching our heads trying to think of something even cooler to release next. So what’s the next stretch goal? We are not ready to tell you quite yet, but here’s a hint… it will give your robot eyes so that Bo can see you and your friends!