Ah, whiteboards. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for them. (Is that weird?) In elementary school, I got really excited whenever I got the chance to write on the teacher’s whiteboard; I loved being able to make a multicolored mess that I could then just wipe away. I was also very fond of the whiteboards installed on the walls outside every room in my college dorm; they were a delightful means of sharing clever and/or obscene poetry and drawings. Of course, whiteboards do serve plenty of legitimate functions, within offices and whatnot. They’re perfect for writing daily menus in restaurants and cafes, and for chore lists within the home.
Anyway, I promise that my extolling of the virtues of whiteboards does have a purpose. Scottish company JJrobots has developed a new twist on the classic whiteboard – a robotic version. The iBoardbot has just been introduced via Kickstarter in hopes of raising £11,000 (about $16,000 USD) by March 10. Not only can the bot write and draw on its attached whiteboard with meticulous precision, but it’s also Internet-connected, which means that you can command it to write/draw whatever you want from anywhere in the world, using a smartphone app.
The cloud-based app also means that multiple iBoardbots can be connected, so users can send messages directly to each other’s boards regardless of where they are. Just type or draw what you want to send, using the app, and your message will appear on the recipient’s board, dutifully inscribed by the robot. The recipient, if they so choose, can then respond with a message to appear on your board. Multiple people can message each other at the same time, so you can get a really good cross-continental game of Hangman going. Or, if you’re of a more diabolical nature, you can amuse yourself by making sinister messages appear, seemingly out of nowhere, on your friends’ boards in the middle of the night. (Redrum…)
The iBoardbot is a build-your-own endeavor, sold in kit form. JJrobots was formed by a couple of engineers with a passion for robotics, and their website is filled with open-source robotic projects plus a large community of makers and hackers. The iBoardbot is built with most of the same electronics and ancillary elements as their popular B-Robot EVO; it’s powered by an Arduino board and can be built with a combination of 3D printed parts and simple hardware.
A pledge of £129 ($187) will get you everything you need to build your own iBoardbot, minus the glass slab that serves as the actual whiteboard, due to “increased shipping costs and how easy it is to buy it on internet or at your local hardware store.” JJrobots also suggests experimenting with different materials for your whiteboard if you choose. A more bare-bones kit is available for £76 ($110) for the more experienced DIY-ers; it includes the electronics only. £193 ($280) gets you a semi-assembled iBoardbot with glass (in multiple color choices!) included, and £360 ($522) earns you two semi-assembled kits. All rewards comes with free cloud service subscriptions, and are expected to be delivered in April. Discuss in the Robotic iBoardbot forum over at 3DPB.com.