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University of Arkansas Student Creates One-of-a-Kind Robot System

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 Canon Reeves, a student at the University of Arkansas and CEO of his own company, MORE Technologies, began building robots when he was 14-years-old. Since then, he’s increased his knowledge of robotics, but he still remembers what it was like to create his first robot from scratch.

“What I enjoy most about robotics is the interdisciplinary nature of it,” says Reeves. “Every robot is a beautiful mess of mechanical, electrical, and software engineering.”

Reeves describes his creation as an expandable ecosystem similar to Legos. Because each robot has the same preprogrammed base component, MOREbot is simple enough for an absolute beginner to pick up, but it’s also powerful enough to be used as a tool by any maker, problem solver, or innovator.

The idea for MOREbot originated after Reeves’ younger sister, Kendra, asked him to build a robot with her.

“I looked around for a kit she would like but couldn’t find one that not only was both affordable and approachable by anyone but also offered learning beyond an instruction manual,” explains Reeves.

MOREbot picks up the slack in the industry that other prototyping kits seem to ignore. The 3D-printed robotics ecosystem uses a patent-pending modular parts system, which allows its users to expand their MOREbot into anything imaginable all while sharpening their tech skills.

“At its core, MOREbot teaches beginners, and even experts how to code, design and 3D-print parts, along with a variety of engineering and robotics concepts,” says Reeves.

Joel Gordon, Making and Tinkering Manager at the Scott Family Amazeum and co-founder of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, says he was extremely impressed not only by the product but by Reeves’ story as well.

“He’s really been playing with this idea for years…but he never lost the fun of doing it,” says Gordon. “It’s exciting to see that, and in a startup company particularly, it’s always great to find people who so utterly believe in what they’re doing that you’re just immediately engaged.”

Reeves’ passion for helping others, like his sister, get started in robotics is what makes MOREbot so unique.

“I’ll sit down with a group of kids, and we’ll just build buildings or build shapes or build whatever they can imagine,” says Gordon. “They can make a castle, or they can build an airplane and it’s just pretend play, but then I can turn around with those same components and add the electronics to it and I can prototype a product in minutes.”

Reeves has created a platform that gives its users endless opportunities to reinvent technology. Because MOREbot is also paired with the ability to design and print your own 3D parts, no idea is off limits.

“Want your MOREbot to greet people using facial recognition? A drone to accommodate your camera? A robotic arm that can play the piano? A dog walking robot?” asks Reeves. “If you can dream it up, you can develop a robot for that.”

In terms of the future for MOREbot, Reeves explains that their main focus for the next year will be on expanding their reach in schools across Arkansas and the surrounding states.

“We’re going to take what we’re learning in our pilot schools and make MOREbot even better for students and teachers,” says Reeves.

Reeves created a fundraising account on Kickstarter for MOREbot in hopes to build a community of makers who use MOREbot.

“We want to get in as many makers’ hands as possible so they can begin making their own parts, tutorials, and robots,” explains Reeves. “This will allow us to grow our ecosystem faster than we ever could on our own.

The MOREbot has already attracted attention from educational leaders in Arkansas, including the EAST Initiative, which is an Arkansas-based program that fosters education through technology and service. EAST President and CEO Matt Dozier says that the MOREbot is the “robotic platform that we have been searching for” to introduce students to robotics.

“EAST believes that our students should be actively engaged in solving problems in their own communities and that access to the best technology for each project is vital to their development as citizens, learners, and the workforce of tomorrow. We have seen several amazing projects in our 20+ year history that included specific use of robotics, but not nearly as many as we would like. The MOREbot is the robotic platform we have been searching for, for many years because it will allow our students to gain experience and expertise in this rapidly developing field yet retain the ability to create something customized to their need. MOREtech has developed a way for EAST students to build the robots that are specific to their unique project, community partner, and problem,”

In fact, Dozier says he was a first-day backer of the project. “I was personally excited enough to be a first day backer of their project; which makes them only the second project I’ve ever felt strongly enough to support financially on Kickstarter,” he says.

Learn more about MOREbot’s Kickstarter here.

READ MORE: Arkansas Son Makes Waves in Robotics

Images courtesy of MORE Technologies

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