I had heard about MOSS Robotics about a year ago but they are finally shipping.
MOSS is a modular building toy that allows anyone to easily build semi-intelligent robotic creations without the need for a computer, programming know-how, or any prior experience with building bots.
It may sound similar to existing robotic building sets, but the components that make up the MOSS sets connect to each other using metal ball bearings and magnets, instead of the traditional plastic interlocking studs. MOSS introduces a radically new way to build where the connectors not only hold components together, but also allow them to bend, move, and pivot, all depending on how they’ve been attached to each other.
What’s that mean in practice? Since all of the ‘programming’ is dependent on how you’ve connected the various MOSS components, experimentation and trial and error is made easier and more enjoyable. The process is part of the fun.
Note that last paragraph? Experimentation, trial and error and process? That is how we learn most effectively. I’m going to get a set of these in a few years for my son. I can only imagine what kind of pieces you will be able to get then!
Here’s a good overview of the technology.