GoBox: A Robotics Subscription Service

Kit maker Dexter Industries pulled the wraps off their latest Kickstarter, GoBox, the first-ever robot subscription service. It’s aimed at kids age 7 and up along with the help of an adult. No prior knowledge of robotics is required and step-by-step guides and videos will be provided.

In the first month of service, kids will receive the popular GoPiGo kit to act as the core of their robot. This kit includes a Raspberry Pi, chassis, battery pack, motors, motor controller board, and wheels. Each subsequent month, they’ll receive a new component such as a sound sensor, servo, light sensor, and many more. Each month, they’ll also receive step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish a particular mission. See their Kickstarter page for details on the different backer rewards and a sample draft mission.

Of course, we’re delighted that Dexter Industries uses Raspberry Pi in their robotics kits. Why do they like our computer? I’ll let John Cole, Dexter’s Founder & CEO, speak for himself:

We’re using the Raspberry Pi because it’s the most open, flexible, and easy to start with hardware for learning programming. We can use Scratch to start with, which is super-easy for young learners to use. And we can walk learners all the way up to command line programming.

There are two interesting and important aspects to what makes GoBox different. The first is that we are starting with little to no background assumed. When we looked at other platforms for starting robotics, they assume you know something (maybe something about coding, about electronics, or about computers). We really wanted to minimize that, and make starting with robotics and programming as easy as possible. So that is why the Raspberry Pi is a perfect platform — because we really start the story from the beginning.

The second is that we’re trying to design the program to keep learners engaged over a long period of time with the subscription service. We’re helping learners gradually, and encouraging open-ended design problems, but with a new delivery every month, you keep learning over the course of a year, rather than rush in, try a few things, lose interest, and throw the program in a corner. A new box every month really encourages people to keep going, and to keep trying new things without overwhelming them all at once.

We think this is a powerful formula to learn some of the most important skills needed in the world today. We also are seeing the creative projects (“missions”) we have developed appeal to girls and boys alike, which is really encouraging.

Check out the GoBox Kickstarter for more details.


Mark A. Greenwood avatar

Not really a new idea as I built two robots from the Real Robots subscription magazine starting back in 2001. Mind you those turned out to be rubbish robots, so hopefully a Raspberry Pi based setup will be much more flexible. Good luck to them.

Tom avatar

Real Robots haha. Yep, turned out to be an expensive but inspirational robot subscription service. If this can inspire as much as Real Robots did for me then great! I wish we had the Raspberry Pi back in them days.

Ton van Overbeek avatar

Note that shipping costs outside the USA are prohibitive for the 12-month subscription (US$ 163 extra for shipping to Europe).
Dexter reacted very quickly and now there is an option for 4 quarterly shipments outside the US. For Europe that would bring shipping down to about US$ 70. Thanks Dexter …

John avatar

Hey Ton, you’re absolutely right. We just launched the new backer levels today to try to address this. Thanks for your support!

MalMan35 avatar

Cool! But probaly won’t be able get cause I live in Japan. Oh well.

John avatar

@Malman35, we have an international shipping option for sure!

Tom avatar

Do they also plan tutorials in german, french, …
as my kid doesn’t understand english yet

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