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?