Sometimes I have already written about crowdfunding on my blog, not always in a flattering way. The problem is that over the years, this noble idea has been completely distorted – instead of supporting innovative ideas, we are simply making preorders. Fortunately, once in a while, a product such as Turtle Rover, the first earth rover built by students from Wrocław, appears on the Kickstarter. And faith in people returns immediately.
Why do I write about a rover? Well, because the designers of Turtle Rover came to me a few weeks ago with the question if I would not like to test this miracle. And it’s not racing your nose outside the firewall, because from my own home, on the computer screen. Who would refuse?
On Wednesday evening, two weeks ago, we made an appointment for a virtual meeting. Thanks to Team Viever I connected to the computer of the team that was almost 300 km away from me, in the forest near Wroclaw. But instead of watching the people responsible for the project and exchanging courtesies, I immediately found myself in a rover. An interface to control the gadget and a camera image from the front of the screen appear on the screen.
But before about impressions, a little about the rover itself. If you associate the name with the Martian rover, it’s very good, because that’s exactly what it’s all about. What is more, it is done by a team of people responsible for the Scorpio project, i.e. building a small vehicle to move around the Red Planet. Łazik and its designers have won a number of awards, including the first place for the European Rover Challenge and many places on the podium, including in the USA.
On the basis of Scorpio’s experience, Turtle was created. Earth version, more commercial and intended for geeks, lovers of electronics, equipment, etc. You can see what it looks like above, but inside you will find, among others, a full HD camera, wi-fi (with a range of up to 200 meters) and an operating system based on RapsberryPi 3, under an open-source license, so you can easily expand it. The rover itself weighs about 8kg and the batteries last about 4 hours.
The Turtle is also equipped with a so-called manipulator, i.e. a robotic arm that can be used to lift various objects. This is not the easiest thing in the world and it requires a lot of skill if we want to lift something really small, but it is nothing that after a moment of exercise cannot be dealt with at least in a basic way. As far as I know, its construction was consulted with specialists in, among others, sapper’s robots, so you can be sure that everything works there as it should.
The rover is light and very, very pleasant, and the preview through the application probably gave even more pounds than if I was standing there in person. In particular, the delay was minimal. As far as I know, the guys tested the connection even with Australia, and everything worked as it should. What my Turtle ride looked like, you can see on the video below:
The creators compare their rover to a throne – it gives more or less the same possibilities, but instead of exploring the spaces it can explore the underworld, such as caves or bunkers, as well as wetlands, because it is waterproof. The advantage is the fact that the battery is old enough for a lot of fun.
Where in all this Kickstarter? Well, already today, on August 22nd, Turtle Rover is going to conquer the world with a kick start campaign. The creators of rover want to produce about 40-70 vehicles at the beginning, because, as they say, they do not care about mass production at all. Hence the prohibitive price per unit – from 1,300 Euros. But you don’t need to sell your kidneys straight away to support the construction of an innovative rover – by paying up to €30 you can participate in rover tests, exactly as you’ve seen in the video above, and help Poles build something really innovative.
I therefore strongly encourage you to support me. That’s what I’ve always imagined crowdfunding to do – to support great ideas that are hard to get otherwise. It’s a romantic, unfettered patronage of people who are capable, instead of supporting those who simply want to minimize their business risks.
And they are capable, Father capable.
If you want to know more about Turtle Rover, watch movies and photos, please visit the Facebook website and support the campaign on Kicstarter. The creators will probably also appear in the Man Man Man’s platform, where you will be able to hear more about them.