This is the second post in our series: Discover Korea’s Tech, where we will talk to a mix of Korean startup entrepreneurs who stood their own ground with their technology, in Korea’s economy notoriously dominated by gigantic companies. Stay tuned over the coming month as we talk to Korean entrepreneurs. You can follow our updates @technodechina for new stories in the series.
MODI, a robotics platform and modular DIY solution which provides IOT hardware and software along with robotic devices, enables users with no programming background to build a robot and program its movements easily with their drag-and-drop software. MODI consists of hardware, the MODI Module – and software, the MODI Studio.
Recently, it has doubled its Kickstarter goal from $68,413 USD and now pledges of a $30,o00 USD goal. The campaign still has 16 days to go.
Using the MODI modules, users invent any IoT and robotic device of their imagination–theft detectors, smart trash can, pet feeding robots, mood lamp, flashlights and even minicars to name a few. The 13 kinds of different modules can be divided into three categories: input, output and setup, and they snap together with magnets, no soldering or wiring necessary.
MODI Studio is compatible with PC, tablets and smartphones. Each module can be connected to durable connectors.
“The core technology is the OS, of which we own the patent. MODI has intelligence in each module. We used the ARM processor and C language to create MODI,” Mr. SeokJung Kim, director of product says.
The main competitor is LittleBits, a New York City based startup that makes an open source library of modular electronics.
“LittleBits is circuit-based, meaning the order and the directions to connect modules are limited,” MinUk Kim, global marketing manager of LUXROBO told TechNode. “However, MODI has no limitations on the order and direction when connecting modules.”
Maker University Students Power Up To Disrupt Maker Market
Some companies in China, including Roboterra, Miaozhua, and Kidscode.cn are introducing robotics-based coding lesson to students, tapping into a growing demand from parents to teach their children technical skills.
“By now the education sector is really the red ocean, but we focus on DIY market. There aren’t many competitors in the DIY market,” Mr. Kim says.
In U.S. there are approximately 135 million adults who are makers, according to Atmel. According to a MAKE/Intel maker market survey on 789 makers, 79% of these makers were involved in hardware or software projects in 2012.
Founded by a robot club of university students in 2014, MODI is LUXROBO’s first product. Despite a very young average age of the members, the team has a high technology background. Sanghun Oh, the 25-year-old CEO of LUXROBO, won eight international robot competitions and became the youngest coach for National Robot Team of Korea as well as a youngest head of the judging panel of robotics competition。
Seungbae Son, the 27-year-old CTO of Luxrobo developed and transferred critical control technologies to Hanwha and Samsung Thales for defense security devices including the autonomous underwater vehicle.
Mr. Kim says LUXROBO will focus on expanding to U.K. education and U.S. retail markets. In November, the company plans to supply MODI to middle schools and high schools in U.K. to foster its potential use in STEM education.
The company raised a seed round from FuturePlay, a hardware focused accelerator, and series A from Hanwha and Mirae Asset, a financial services group. Mr. Kim says MODI’s OS can be applied to fintech as well. LUXROBO is supported by K-ICT Born2Global Center, a major Korean government agency under the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP).
Image Credit: LUXROBO