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Gemini – Smart Robotics for Learning and Fun in a Small Package

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Posted November 12, 2015

Robotics has become quite a hype nowadays – it is not a miracle to see them around anymore. Although, ways to use them are still being explored, including some of very attractive ideas emerging lately. One of the examples for such trend is a cute wheel-balancing robot named Gemini. And its ability to balance on two wheels certainly is not the main or the most modern feature.

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The robot itself is relatively small. So what additional functionality can be incorporated into, literally, handheld package? The creators of the device say their invention comes with dual personalities, or forms, that can interact with users with dance, fight games, and simply as an interactive toy for everyone in your home.

Like most of modern smart electronic devices, Gemini is controlled via the Wi-Fi wireless connection using a smartphone or a tablet computer. The supplied software gives tools to edit the ‘facial’ expression displayed on the front screen of the robot. The screen is LED-based and is made of 247 blue LEDs. By turning these LEDs on and off you can create emoji, write message, or draw whatever patterns you like using Gemini app, so the number of expressions or images is limited only by your creativity.

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Android and iOS apps are available. Regarding the control aspect, fun functions like racing, fighting, music playing, dancing, voice changer (and even more) are available. Gemini also has different modes of control:

  • Motion-Path Control – the most common way to control Gemini. All you need to do is direct Gemini with your fingers from Gemini app on your smart device, moving it forward, backward, going to the left, making a turn.
  • Path Following – user draws a path on the tablet or smartphone screen, and Gemini follows the lead.
  • Gravity Control  – no precise finger-based controls are needed. Just tilt your tablet left to turn Gemini to the left, tilt your iPad right to turn it to the right, and then let the gravity do the work.
  • Voice Command – obviously, some basic voice recognition. Commands like ‘forward’, ‘backward’, ‘smile’, ‘laugh’, ‘turn around’ are available. Gemini listens, recognizes and responds to your voice thru the control app.

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The team positions their Gemini not only as a toy but also as an educational device. It can be programmed with the graphical programming tool mBlockly, software based on Google Blockly (which is similar to famous educational Scratch), thus allowing users to learn some basic but essential programming skills.

From the component side, Gemini uses a single MPU-6050 3-Axis Accelerometer and Gyroscope working with STM32 micro-controller unit. Data processing capacity is enough to handle a real-time analysis of related state parameters of the robot, so it is able to keep its balance under all circumstances (for example, when driving straight or standing still), and also leans at an angle when making turns to maintain its stability.

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When put down, Gemini is momentarily transformed to a three-wheel racing car or even a fighter instantly. The two durable rubber wheels and one stainless-steel ball make sure Gemini can run at most flat surfaces steadily, including wooden board, cement road, carpet, etc.

Need some more fun? You can easily use Gemini as a voice-changing gadget with dozens of fun and unique voices. Two stereo speakers are used to play music or voice recordings. The robot can even be set to dance while listening to the music!

Additionally, this fun and creative platform boasts 2.4G module (along the Wi-Fi), supports managing and processing of important activity-related data like game scores, ranking, health points and even multiple weapon modes for its interactive laser-tag game. The team says, data transmission speeds are high enough to support a real-time interaction with Gemini.

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Source: Project page on Kickstarter

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