China’s Tencent sales opportunities funding for US instructional robot firm’s drive into Asian markets

Chinese world wide web large Tencent Holdings has led a US$41 million funding spherical for US instructional robot business Speculate Workshop, as the latter seeks to extend its presence in Asia amid increasing demand for laptop or computer science instruction.

California-centered Speculate Workshop would make a line of “CleverBots” – programmable robot toys that support college students understand coding and robotics, aiming at a increasing craze amid educational facilities to integrate science, technologies, engineering and arithmetic (STEM) instruction into curriculums.

Speculate Workshop’s US$150 Sprint robot is amid the bestselling toys in its class on Amazon’s on the internet market, and the business will work with about 1 in five junior educational facilities in the US. It also would make the Cue robot, aimed at little ones in excess of the age of 11, as nicely as Dot, a stand-on your own robot that can also serve as a companion for either Sprint or Cue.

In Hong Kong its solutions can be identified in 150 major and secondary educational facilities and it is functioning with Hong Kong trader MindWorks Ventures and instruction publishing business Classroom to maximize its access in the town.

“We feel that we also want to empower lecturers to [provide STEM education], and so we expend a lot of time figuring out the proper curriculum that can be utilised in educational facilities,” explained Brian Yang, head of Asia Pacific at Speculate Workshop, which also assists to coach lecturers to use its robots in the classroom.

Lots of of its investors are nicely placed to support Speculate Workshop extend in Asia – for case in point, Tencent is a significant shareholder of e-commerce platform JD.com, meaning Speculate Workshop’s solutions could get a enhance on the on the internet retailer’s web-site.

Yang explained that dad and mom and educational facilities in Asia are starting to be significantly conscious of the worth of STEM instruction, and the business plans to use some of the new cash, from its most recent series C spherical of funding, to extend its workforce in the region.

Other investors consist of China’s TAL Training Group, Softbank Korea, TCL Capital, Sinovation Ventures, VTRON Group, Madrona Venture Group, Vivid Achievement, WI Harper and CRV.

Educational robot maker Marvel Workshop raises $41m from Tencent, Softbank & others

US instructional robotics participant, Marvel Workshop has elevated $41 million in a series C round joined by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, MindWorks Ventures, and Softbank Korea, according to a report in AVCJ.

The round incorporated additional backers this sort of as Madrona Enterprise Group, TAL Instruction Group and VTRON Group. Current buyers TCL Cash, Sinovation Ventures, Vibrant Achievement, WI Harper and CRV also participated in the round.

Tencent lately led a $40 million funding in Wattpad, a Toronto-dependent storytelling platform, as the group’s own online literature platform, China Literature Ltd, is slated to record on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange by using a $1.1 billion IPO.

Meanwhile, Marvel Workshop final elevated funding in July final yr, where by it secured a $20 million series B led by Strategy Bulb Ventures and WI Harper, with participation by Find out Cash, Charles River Ventures and Madrona Enterprise Group. The company had mentioned it would use the funding to strengthen growth in China.

The startup had formerly elevated $15.9 million in exterior funding since its inception in 2012.

Previously recognized as Participate in-i, Marvel Workshop is an training and robotics startup dependent in Silicon Valley in the United States. The company launched the robots Bo and Yana for youngsters age 6 and up in November 2013, ahead of renaming them to Dash and Dot in 2014.

Dash and Dot are robots targeted at teaching artistic trouble-fixing and computational pondering. They appear with four cost-free applications suitable with iOS and Android units, including the iPad 3, iPad mini, iPad Air 1 & 2 and a selection of Nexus and Samsung Galaxy units.

Past thirty day period, the STEM company launched a new robot for ages 11 and older named Cue. Cue is identical to Dash in its condition and dimension, and is controlled by means of an application that will work both on a smartphone or an iPad. It can do numerous steps this sort of as rolling ahead and backward at distinct distances, preventing hurdles, singing, flashing with several colored light-weight combos, spinning its head, and telling tales.

Also Rea

US robotics startup Marvel Workshop raises $20m led by Strategy Bulb Enterprise

HK: On-need application Lalamove raises $10m in third round led by MindWorks

China: Sinovation Ventures potential customers $40m Sequence B in m-commerce startup Huajuan

China is termed a hotbed of AI prospects for buyers

Kamigami is a cute robot bug you build yourself

The basic design of each Kamigami robot is based on company founders Nick Kohut and Andrew Gillies’ academic work in biomimicry, which involved building machines that could walk like insects. When fully assembled, each Kamigami has six legs like a real bug, with three of the feet facing forward and three facing backward in an alternating pattern. This means that once you put it together and start controlling it with the app, there’s always one set of legs driving the robot forward, letting it run very, very fast.

The legs are one of the main things you’ll have to assemble yourself, along with the distinctive plastic shell based on one of six different insects, including a cute ladybug, a shiny rhinoceros beetle and a fierce-looking scorpion. Each kit comes with a pre-assembled central unit containing the electronics module and gearbox, equipped with useful sensors like an accelerometer, gyroscope, IR transmitter and two IR readers, as well as speakers and LED lighting. You’ll be asked to download the app on your phone and sync with the base unit via Bluetooth, after which the program will walk you through assembling the Kamigami.

It’s actually pretty simple, though a bit nerve-wracking. At first I was scared I would accidentally break the plastic pieces, but they proved to be pretty sturdy as I slotted them together and bolstered them with black rivets. But while I managed to put together the Kamigami in under an hour, it was still somewhat challenging. The rivets are hard to remove if you make a mistake, and some of the tabs are really small and hard to manipulate: I could see a kid getting frustrated and handing it off to their parents to finish.

Once you’ve got the legs and shell attached, you can just jump into rest of the app and have the bug skittering around almost immediately. You control the robot’s actions directly using the joystick on your screen, or select preprogrammed actions like a figure eight or a little dance. A coding mode lets you program simple movement, light and sound patterns for your bug. There’s even a battle mode that allows two Kamigami to wrestle physically in a sumo match and shoot virtual ray guns at each other.

Vorpal Robotics Launches Educational Robot Donation Program

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Vorpal Robotics Launches Educational Robot Donation Program

Six-Legged Robots Inspire Students to Study STEM

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STOCKHOLM, N.J., Oct. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — This past summer a group of Appalachian girls in a rural mountain community did something they’d never before imagined: they built and programmed walking hexapod robots.

Vorpal Robotics will donate fifty radio controlled, programmable hexapod robots to educational organizations and provides incentives for others to join the program.

The Partnership for Appalachian Girls’ Education (PAGE), located in Madison County, North Carolina, runs a six-week summer educational program. They had never fielded a robotics activity before, but this year Vorpal Robotics donated eight scampering, radio-controlled, programmable hexapods.

Deborah Hicks-Rogoff, Executive Director of PAGE, explained: “Having a STEM learning activity featuring robotics was an exciting opportunity for girls in Madison County, North Carolina.  PAGE students live in economically vulnerable rural communities.  A robotics learning activity offered a chance for Appalachian girls to experience 21st century learning in a fun atmosphere.”

“The girls were immediately excited to see a robot walk and dance,” said Duke Engineering student Caroline Potts, who supervised the activity. “We started building in small groups, and their interest deepened. One girl said, ‘I can’t believe I’m building a robot!’ and another cut other activities just to get more programming time!”

“We were thrilled with the success at PAGE,” commented Steve Pendergrast, founder of Vorpal Robotics. “It only took a few ultra-cool robots and one motivated college intern to open a whole new world of technology to these students. That’s why we’re launching our donation program—to inspire more students.”

Vorpal Robotics will donate fifty of their hexapods to educational organizations in the coming months. And they are offering incentives for others to donate, too. Organizations receive not only the robots but also free consulting on how to use them in the classroom.

“In my ten years teaching robotics,” Pendergrast continued, “I’ve never seen anything like the hexapods for inspiring students. Something about these robots—able to walk, dance, and perform outlandish and interesting movements—captivates people.”

Organizations who wish to receive donations as well as individuals who want to help expand the program can find details on the VorpalRobotics.com home page.

“We want to spread the word that technology is an awesome topic to study,” Pendergrast said. “This program will help bring that message to more students.”

About Vorpal Robotics, LLC:

Vorpal Robotics, LLC creates fun, interactive robots for educators, Makers, and hobbyists. For more information, visit www.vorpalrobotics.com. On Kickstarter: www.tinyurl.com/ksvch.

Contact:

Steve Pendergrast, Founder
[email protected]
(973) 699-0996

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/vorpal-robotics-launches-educational-robot-donation-program-300529981.html

SOURCE Vorpal Robotics, LLC

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NASASpaceflight.com has reported that two SpaceX launches have slipped five days, with SES-11 and Iridium NEXT-3 respectively scheduled for launch on October 7th and 9th. Initially planned for October 2nd and 4th, the concurrent delays mean SpaceX will still attempt to conduct two launches within approximately 48 hours of each other.

Earlier this summer, SpaceX managed to successfully launch three Falcon 9 missions in just 12 days, with two of those launches and booster recoveries occurring in less than 48 hours. As such, the company has readily demonstrated its ability for rapid-fire launch cadence and a willingness to schedule missions as few as 24 hours apart, if necessary.

While SpaceX is only able to intermittently achieve such a cadence, their ability to launch rapidly will likely mature as LC-40 is reactivated and the company finds itself with three active launch pads. This is the only way SpaceX can achieve a planned cadence of weekly launches by 2019, and it would also help the company conduct several dozen potential launches next year, 28 of which presently have tentative launch dates in 2018.

If all goes according to plan, the second week of October will see two Falcon 9 vehicles launch satellites into Earth orbits and then return to their respective oceans for recovery aboard both of SpaceX’s autonomous droneships; Just Read The Instructions in the Pacific, and Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic.

Of Course I Still Love You‘s mythical robotic companion was spotted out and about aboard the droneship earlier this week by Julia Bergeron, an active SpaceX fan and resident of Florida’s Space Coast. More exciting still, the launch of SES-11 will be the second time the telecommunications company has chosen to fly on a refurbished Falcon 9, and SpaceX’s third commercial reuse of an orbital-class rocket.

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