M-CLE: Hacked smart cycle


M-CLE, described as ” a physical learning environment in which synergistic artificial intelligence through the use of robots(creative agents) is employed to  embellish the creativity of the child”, looks like a pretty fun toy. For those of you who haven’t figured out what it does from that quote, it is a toy that kids ride on to control a robot. That robot draws on the floor while other robots interact with it using AI. This is all made to “embellish” the child’s creative work.

To control the robot, a child rides on a Fischer Price Smart Cycle. The factory electronics were replaced with an ATMEGA168. A wireless transmitter connects to the robot, which is also powered by an ATMEGA168. While one robot is controlled by the child, the others are packed with sensors to allow them to interact with it. They use touch, ultrasonic ping detectors, and IR line detectors. You can see it all in action in the video summary.

The design is interesting, everything is bright and colorful, and the shark fins on the robots are a nice touch. We have to wonder though, with a toy to ride on, a robot to control, and 3 other robots to watch in wonder, is the child going to be too distracted to be very creative?


  1. kyle says:

    Thats interesting but try to get a halfway creative child to sit back seat to 4 robots drawing on the kitchen floor. you will soon find them disassembled and markings on your walls.

    +1 for the work
    -1 for the idea

  2. nubie says:

    Now just make it adult size and connect to the robots from the other side of the globe.

    (I agree with kyle, real kids touch things with their hands, I recall my first electric car had 3 wheels, and I am pretty sure it started with 4 ;). I was 3 or 4 years old and I must have wanted to get at that motor :) )

  3. sly says:

    this is a simple teaching tool for controlling minions. Great for any rising dictator. ;-)

  4. kaptin says:

    Provided said child is old enough, and not allowed to play ONLY with robuts, then sure. Make sure they have plenty of legos (or cardboard boxes) to offset creativity, and all is well.

  5. Todd Grigsby says:

    Not that I’m not fully impressed with the little entire project, but art? I’m guessing this is the kind of guy that spills his coffee and spends the next hour searching for meaning the splatter… Seriously, though, the concept of having a child perform an activity with autonomous helper bots is extremely cool.

  6. kyle007 says:

    the robots draw like a child…

    give the kid four cayons… just kidding..

    cool idea

  7. fractalrock says:

    Nice work; I like the general concept too. As for the tagline…
    ” a physical learning environment in which synergistic artificial intelligence through the use of robots(creative agents) is employed to embellish the creativity of the child”
    …geez. Who the hell comes up with this stuff :/

  8. myra-store says:

    Wanna buy one of these hacked bikes?

    Get it at: http://www.myra-robotics.com

  9. greenyooper says:

    …allows child to be the beholder of its meaning. good grief, this guy should have his geek credentials revoked for all that psychobabble. The first thing on any kids mind given four motorized devices in an enclosed area would be collisions.
    +1 for the work
    -2 for the idea

  10. xerox says:

    hey…. this is no psychobabble ok.. the boy has done some serious philosophical work here…

  11. rocky says:

    i agree xerox. this project has some inherent deep meaning

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