Toronto Native Helps Dash Robotics Make World’s First Foldable Origami Robot

Dash Robotics

Dash Robotics, creators of Dash, the the world’s first foldable, programmable origami robot that you can build yourself, has officially crowdfunded their project yesterday afternoon after being live for only five and a half days. They have raised just over $65,000 or 102% of the $64,000 original funding goal thanks to over 790 backers and they still have 21 days to go.

Last week, we mentioned Dash Robotics as one of the first startups to use new crowdfunding platform Dragon Innovation when it launched. This week, we add another first to list as the company has become one of the first to reach 100 percent of their funding goal on the Dragon Innovation platform.

Former University of Toronto Engineering graduate Andrew Gillies is part of the four-man team behind Dash Robotics, a Berkeley-based startup.

“I’m thrilled with how quickly we’ve met our goal, and how well received Dash has been!” the Toronto native told BetaKit. “We set out to impress with this exciting new robotic platform, and it feels great to see that reflected in our backers enthusiasm – we couldn’t do it without their support”.

Dash Robotics wants to revolutionize the robotics space by making Dash robot kits available for everyone, especially kids. Gillies said that they have designed their kits to be put together by an eight-year old in under an hour with nothing else required except for Elmer’s Glue.

Dash Robotics Kids Assembly

Dash (which stands for Dynamic Autonomous Sprawled Hexapod) is a six-legged lightning-fast robot built with a new manufacturing process called origami. The process is critical in making the robotics foldable which is unique to Dash. The robot is modelled after a cockroach both in it’s design as well as it’s “mechanical intelligence” which allows it to run on all sorts of terrains including rocks and gravel. And the little critter is fast: on a flat surface, Dash can run up to five feet per second.

Dash is controlled using a smartphone or tablet through by connecting the robot via Bluetooth and then using a free app. Dash’s various sensors will allow users to steer the robot from their smartphone, sense walls and obstacles around them and even run away from bright lights (true cockroach style). The little critter will be available in a variety of colours including yellow, orange, blue and black.

Dash Robotics in Color

Backers of the project have an early chance to get their hands on this fun, educational and accessible robot kit expected to ship in Spring of 2014. Dash Robotics is offering five backer reward levels ranging from $40 to $1,000. The most popular reward level so far is for the Beta Dash kit at $65.

Dash Robotics chose to go down the crowdfunding route to test out the market.  Gillies told BetaKit that they wanted to get their cockroach-like robot in the hands of the public in limited quantities in order to get feedback they could then use to prepare for a larger launch.

The Beta Dash robot kits only have 108 of the 1,000 available units up for grabs. Gillies has confirmed that the company does intend to keep the campaign running for the remainder of the period even if these run out. Dash Robotics will be releasing some new rewards for the campaign due to the overwhelming success they have seen so far.

You can learn more about Dash and Dash Robotics in their campaign video below. Or head on over to Dragon Innovation to get the full run-down on the kit and their story.


Tom Emrich

Sometimes called the “man from the future” Tom Emrich is a leading voice in wearable technology as an investor, community builder and influencer. His passion for this space is driven by his belief that wearable tech plays a critical role in our human evolution.

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