Equip your bot with XYZ Interactive’s sensors

Have you met MiP? He’s a small toy robot from WowWee that balances on two wheels and responds to hand gestures telling him to stop, go, back up, and turn around. That’s all thanks to GestureSense technology from XYZ Interactive, which will be available to Get Your Bot On! hackers at our 2015 hackathon.


XYZ co-founder Mike Kosic dropped by our August 27 meetup to tell participants about the sensors they might be able to incorporate into their health-themed robot, which has to be able to move and to sense its environment or receive input in some way. GYBO will provide each team with a standard hardware kit to build with, but to get one of XYZ’s sensors, you have to pitch your design to Mike personally on the first day of the hackathon.

“We are happy to sponsor GYBO again this year — this time with sensors in production with SparkFun. ” Mike Kosic, CEO, XYZ Interactive

The ZX sensor that he’ll be giving out retails for $24.95 through SparkFun Electronics, with whom XYZ has partnered in order to get their technology out to hobbyists and individual makers. With a detection “sweet spot” of eight to 10 inches, the sensor is optimized for human interaction, since that is the distance we’re most comfortable with right now, Mike says. It comes in two sizes, the one with the larger LED being preferable if your design has enough space for it, and the lower-profile version better suited to wearables.

XYZ was formed in 2002 by Kosic and inventor Andrew Lohbihler and initially focused on radio frequency position sensing but switched to infrared in 2008. They are part of the MaRS Discovery District community. Their other sensor type, BeaconSense, handles machine-to-machine interaction and will hopefully be available at next year’s hackathon, Mike says.


XYZ Technologies co-founder Andrew Lohbihler

Meetup attendees got a chance for some hands-on investigation of the sensors as well as gear brought by other speakers. Get more details on our blog, and don’t forget to sign up for the hackathon to have a chance to work with these gadgets. The deadline to register has been extended to September 3 at midnight.

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