This is the work of Modular Robotic's MOSS Robotic Building Toy. It's a series of little building blocks that, when assembled, function as little robots. They can drive, they can react, they can be built any way you like. Above is a cool hands-on video from Engadget and below is Gizmodo's in-depth explanation on how these work and where they came from.
If the phrase 'caveat emptor' (aka buyer beware) applies to anything, it's Kickstarter and other crowdfunded products. Wonderful things are promised by optimistic designers, inventors, and marketers, but rarely are they delivered. That's not the case with Modular Robotics' new MOSS robotic building toy, however. Having already successfully brought its Cubelets to market, the company has created a new kind of building toy that will appeal to both kids and engineers alike.
What sets the MOSS apart from toys like Lego's Mindstorms and even its predecessor, the Cubelets, is the use of metallic spheres and magnets to hold all of the components together. Not only does it simplify assembly, but the metal spheres can also work as hinges, pivots, and even rotational points depending on how many you use.
The various components are a mix of power sources, control knobs, servos, and even a wireless module that lets you control your creation from an accompanying smartphone app. And it's remarkable how complex a machine you can assemble using just this small assortment of components—and how quickly.
In the amount of time it took me to even attempt to create a 3D model using this device, I was able to assemble a crude pivoting robotic arm that had me excited at the potential of finally building my robot butler the future has yet to deliver.
The MOSS components are all color-coded so it's to remember how the various pieces need to be connected to bring your creation to life, and the lack of any kind of programming means that anyone old enough to not accidentally swallow those metal balls can be building Johnny Fives in no time. [Modular Robotics]