Mod Robotics MOSS hands-on – we build our own robot army

Who needs Big Dog? These magnetic blocks let you assemble your own bots, Voltron-style

For as long as we can remember, we've wanted our own robot army.

Now, with Mod Robotics' MOSS system, we can assemble our own legion of brightly-coloured, blocky Terminators.

The robot building blocks raised three times their US$100,000 (RM327,250) goal on Kickstarter, and now Mod Robotics has shown them off in public for the first time at CES 2014. Naturally, we had to have a go.

Move over, Lego

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The bricks themselves are little cubes in 1x1 or 2x1 configurations, with indentations in the corner to accommodate magnetic balls that hold them together.

They're colour-coded according to function; green bricks are the power source, red bricks contain sensors, black bricks are motors and blue bricks are pass-through connectors. Although the bright plastic bricks seem very kid-friendly, the magnets could easily be swallowed by a small child – so this is definitely a plaything for older children.

More after the break...

Power, crazy

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Once you've joined a power source, a sensor and a motor together, you've built your first robot. Ours was a feeble effort – a hinge that's manipulated with a rotary knob – but you quickly graduate to more advanced constructions with light sensors, rotors and wheels.

There's even a Bluetooth module that lets you control your creation with an iOS or Android app – Mod Robotics were demonstrating a remote-controlled car, but you can set the app up to direct pretty much anything your fevered imagination can conjure up.

First thoughts

The Mod stand was packed with punters tinkering away on their own creations, and having played around with the bricks, the feeling they evoke is similar to the sense of infinite possibility that came with opening your first Lego set.

They are, simply, bricking awesome.

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