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Ziro is a nifty hand-controlled robotics kit for kids

TechCrunch TechCrunch 23/05/2016 Romain Dillet

Meet Ziro, a robotics kit that lets you build all sorts of vehicles using a few motors, a smartphone, a glove and your imagination. Ziro’s default kit comes with four wireless motors and enough pieces to build a small car. You can now back this project on Indiegogo.

I’ve talked with ZeroUI, the company behind Ziro a few weeks ago. Their prototype was already working quite well and a couple of kids immediately started playing with it.

But Ziro isn’t just yet another RC car. Ziro lets you build cars, cardboard robots, articulated animals and more. For instance, if you get the creator bundle upgrade, you’ll receive a few cardboard layouts of things you could build with Ziro.

And then, you can start building more robots using cardboard, Lego bricks or plastic bottles. I think kids will have to work with an adult for the most ambitious projects. (But what do I know, I don’t have kids.)

When it comes to controlling your motors, the Ziro modules create and connect to a Wi-Fi network so they can talk to each other. The Ziro system doesn’t rely on your home Wi-Fi network so you can bring it with you. You can configure each motor using the Ziro app on your phone. And you can move your vehicle using Ziro’s glove.

Interestingly, the Ziro team avoided the good old controller with plenty of buttons. The glove comes with accelerometers and a Wi-Fi chip.

For instance, if you want to move left, you slowly tilt your hand to the left. This user interface is interesting in itself. It makes you feel like you’re using magic to control a car as you don’t hold anything in your hand.

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