Keigan Motor: Smart Module for Robot Building

Last update January 30, 2018
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Want a programmable module that you can use in many ways to achieve different goals in your projects? Then, take a look at the Keigan Motor project on Kickstarter that can help you build your personal robot.

From Idea to Prototype in One Go

Any enthusiasts who want to create their own robots uses various methods to make their contraption move around. The Keigan Motor is designed to help them by offering a programmable module with a brushless, gearless electric motor with a flat disk that is ideal for rapid prototyping. By adding various parts and details to the module, you'll be able to bring into life and put into action your boldest ideas and complex concepts for mechanical robots.

On their Kickstarter page, the project's authors promise the easy-to-use iOS and Android apps with several preset patterns and open-source SKDs for creating your own motion configurations. That way, both pros and beginners will be able to use it and customize the disk movements to their needs.

What Can It Do?

It can do almost anything that you’d want a smart motor module to do. Owing to the built-in 6-axis accelerometer and gyro sensor, you can set it up at any angle, including upside-down. The motor-driven flat plate on its top has several perforated threaded holes for attaching it to any other parts and construction elements that you need.

For instance, you can order the Keigan Camera Kit that comes with a special adaptor for a photo or recording camera. As the disk rotation can be configured with 0.05° accuracy, it'll be possible to create the most precise motion patterns for the best visual effects. Along with the camera adaptor, the Camera Kit also gives access to the Keigan Camera app for smartphones, allowing it to recognize human faces and follow them with a phone camera.

Hot Wheels

More impressively, the Keigan Motor can work in pairs with other modules, helping you create more complex designs. For example, by attaching the wheels to a couple of modules and setting them vertically at the bottom of the frame, you will get a cart. By using various robot templates from the phone app, you’ll be able to assign speed and motion settings to each of them to execute the required functions. The motor speed can be set within 0.1 - 250 RPM range. Also, the motor delivers a very smooth stepless transition when the speed changes, which is helpful when using it with a camera or other shock-sensitive devices.

When using several modules together, you can rely on the multi-colored LEDs for helping you determine where and how to install them. The templates in the mobile app will show you the indication, allowing you to check in what way and order the discs turn.

Record Your Own Patterns

To power the motor, the module requires an external 5V 2A power source, plugged in the USB Type-C port. You can either hook it up to the USB port on your computer or use a power bank as a portable battery.

The Keigan Motor employs Bluetooth LE module to communicate with other devices and features a flash memory drive to record motions. As an additional method of programming, you can press small buttons on the base and rotate the disc manually to record and playback your own movements. Finally, the authors plan to release the SDKs and APIs for Arduino, Windows, and Raspberry pi platforms in the nearest future as well, which will allow users to build more elaborate scenarios and motion patterns.

Risks and Prices

At the moment, the Kickstarter campaign is yet to achieve the funding goal of $15,000. However, with more than 30 days to go, the project has already collected more than a half of the needed sum.

The Keigan company has the working prototype on display at the 2017 SXSW Interactive Festival and is going to start the shipping in July 2017 if the funds are collected in time. The retail price for a single module with USB Type-A to Type-C cable is going to be at $349 USD. Still, the Kickstarter bidders can choose one of several pledging options and get a 1, 2 or 4-module kit, saving from $40 to $200 for it.

For more information, you can also check out the Keigan official website.