Smartphones are amazing.
Their notifications, reminders, and nudges create the rhythm of modern life – yet each push-notification tears us from the physical world back behind the screen, where our attention gets hijacked and we lose time and energy.
MonkeyBots are small IoT Robots that free digital events from your phone and turn them into movement in the physical world: MonkeyBots can click analog switches, rattle pills, or hit the Gong to poetically remind you of important things or automate your daily routines. MonkeyBots come with an array of sustainably 3D printed add-ons to grip, push, hit or click almost anything.
MonkeyBots are not another creepy IoT product, that steals your attention and sells your data.
Instead, MonkeyBots enhance the human experience by adding a digital layer to the physical world:
Retrofitting your beloved coffee maker from the 1970s to your sleep-cycle app or connecting grandma’s picture to your call history – turning away, when you forget to call.
MonkeyBots are only connected to your phone by Bluetooth-Low-Energy and have no microphones, and no cameras – making it impossible to spy on you.
Your phone can access the internet’s rich selection of useful APIs, automation, and events, but with a BLE connection MonkeyBots only move if you (your phone) are close by.
Good design is unobtrusive: MonkeyBots Industrial Design is an off-white cube.
It can stand on 5 sides with a LEGO-compatible side on the bottom and a big plus on top to add different tools. Each tool is 3D printed in one extrusion, leveraging compliant mechanisms to work without moving parts. Printed from organic PLA or recycled PET.
MonkeyBots tools can be manufactured in unique colors to fit different living environments.
Life is richer when your phone’s blue light fades, and metallic pings silence.
Get MonkeyBots and let the phone stay in your pocket.
What makes it smart / innovative?:
MonkeyBots enhance the human experience by adding a poetic and practical digital layer into the physical world: hitting the Gong to remind you of your daily meditation practice or rattling your keys, once the Uber has arrived.
MonkeyBots are not another creepy IoT product that steals your attention and sells your data. MonkeyBots have no microphones and no cameras – making it impossible to spy on you.
MonkeyBots are not directly connected to the internet but only connected to your phone via Bluetooth Low Energy. This setup allows each MonkeyBot to access the internet’s rich selection of useful APIs, automation, and events through your phone and only move if you (your phone’s BLE connection) are close by.
While most IoT products are narrowly designed for a single task, MonkeyBots can interact with a wide range of switches, buttons, and objects. This is made possible by an array of sustainably 3D printed add-ons to grip, push, hit, or click almost anything.
MonkeyBots can remember an array of unique movements and are connected to your phone via Bluetooth. Your phone can trigger these movements via the MonkeyBots app instead of pinging yet another smartphone push notification.
Each MonkeyBot has a USB-C chargeable battery and a small but strong electric motor connected to the big adaptor on top of the body.
The adaptor is shaped like a big plus, giving the Tools enough surface to clamp onto and translate torque well into the tool.
Each tool is 3D printed in one extrusion designed as a compliant mechanism to snap in tightly and hold firmly without moving parts. 3D printing also allows us to offer a wide range of colors in recycled bio-plastics without over-production.
MonkeyBots help save resources because they allow you to retrofit the devices you already own: E.g instead of getting a new wifi enabled smart coffee machine you can keep the one you have and love – and only upgrade the switch with a MonkeyBot.
Why is it relevant for the final user?:
Modern humans are drowning in distraction.
We believe in a future of smart tech and ubiquitous computing, but this future must be designed humanely – mindful of the limits of human attention. Your phone is great – we’re not taking that away – we’re adding a physical dimension.
When we started our research by mapping daily pings, notifications, and reoccurring reminders, we noticed quickly so much attention is sucked into the device and how much time we all spend without being intentional, as soon as we unlock the phone.
With MonkeyBots we wanted to push the boundaries of how you can use the magic of sufficiently advanced technology, like your smartphone, without you taking the phone out of your pocket.
Playing around with different post-analog use cases we slowly saw them cluster into three distinct areas where MonkeyBots create the most value for users:
1. Retroffitng older tech
Saving you money while sparing the world’s resources. MonkeyBots can smarten up the devices you already own and love so you can enjoy them for longer and connect them to your smart home.
2. Poetic reminders
You don’t need a reminder to meditate when you’re driving or a ping to take your daily vitamins when you are at work. MonkeyBots allow you to physically position your phone’s reminders in the real world in places they make sense to you.
3. Fully automated smart routines
Imagine a magical morning routine that starts where your sleep tracking app is connected to your coffee machine – telling it to turn on just before windchimes gently wake you up.
With our intuitive no-code interface, you can set up each MonkeyBots however you like. Simply show the MonkeyBot how you’d like it to move and select a trigger.
Monkey see – Monkey do.
Link to the project: