We were a bunch of Silicon Valley engineers who belonged to the Homebrew Robotics Club. We all dreamed of having robots like we have seen in movies since we were kids. All that was available were toys or hacks of "robot" vacuum cleaners or RC cars.
We needed a base, a differential-drive robot that had the payload, navigation endurance to live in a ADA-compliant space. The joke in our club was we wanted a robot that could go to the kitchen and bring us a can of beer, but in reality, we needed a base that could be utilized for all kinds of useful work.
The problem was, how do you do that at an affordable cost? We utilized a methodology of challenges, each one accomplishing a more sophisticated goal.
Our team members consisted of hardware and software engineers, lean manufacturing experts, supply chain experts, robotics competition winners. We benefited from our Silicon Valley location. We utilized the hacker culture plus ready expertise from engineers at google and Willow Garage. This past Spring our Indiegogo campaign enabled us to produce our first 50 robots.
We wanted to build robots that could do useful work in our homes offices and workshops, but nothing existed that had the payload, endurance, or capability to accomplish the simplest of tasks. What we needed didn't exist, so we created Magni.
If you develop apps for mobile devices, no one would expect you to have to create a cell phone before you began programing, but developers of robot applications don't have any options. To start developing an application first, you need a mobile base that can navigate in your workspace.
Magni is a powerful robot, capable of moving up to 100 kg. It is sturdy enough that an adult can stand on it. It has vision, computational and adequate power to support user-supplied accessories.
We have just finished our first production run of 50 platforms, and our first customers are receiving them as we write this. The Silver Version costs under $2,000.
We believe Magni can help other developers jumpstart their development. We have always designed our product with COTS and supply-chain dynamics in mind, and we believe our product is totally unique and is ideal for both the small startup and existing research lab.
Our product leverages Ubuntu and ROS, so the software is in the public domain. This makes it trivial to add complex attachments and features like lidar sensors and manipulators without having to develop software from scratch. Developers typically take two years to develop a base from scratch. Our product can save two years of development time for a startup company.
Magni includes everything to run out of the box except the user supplied 2 12v SLA batteries.