$99 pi-topCEED desktop combines STEM learning with radical affordability

The STEM dreams of children around the world are being awoken and nurtured by the stream of educational devices aimed at teaching these children how to code. The team behind their self-titled runaway Indiegogo hit Pi-Top laptop is back with a second product that looks to lower the barrier of entry even further while dealing with its chunkiness a bit more effectively.

The pi-topCEED is the first $99 Raspberry Pi desktop featuring a 13.3″ HD screen, a 180° degree hinge for greater viewing angels, and a front-facing slide-away panel that allows access to the circuitry within. The unit comes with a Raspberry Pi 2 pre-installed with pi-top OS, an OS built by makers for maker that includes key functionality like brightness control along with gaming in the form of Minecraft and educational programs like Scratch and CEEDUniverse, a MMORPG that teaches circuit and programming basics.

Food and Beverage Technology

Barobot mixes drinks from up to 12 bottles at once, won’t hear your sob story

The Premise. Getting home from a hard day at the office or throwing a party for friends would be better if nobody had to play bartender the whole night. One can always pour their own cocktails, but getting the ratios right can be difficult and what should be refreshing can turn out overpowering.

The Product. The Barobot is a shelf-top device for top-shelf liquor that can hold up to 12 bottles and pour perfect shots into a cup as it moves it back and forth down the alcoholic assembly line. With an open source, open platform design, the Barobot is completely customizable — from the LED lighting displays to the touch-screen interface that makes ordering any drink a snap. New cocktails can be added to the menu easily, and for those that want to have a drink waiting for them, a tablet can be used to place a drink order so that by the time the walk to the Barobot is completed, so is the beverage.

The Pitch. The Barobot pitch is just like its design: colorful, playful, and inviting. The idea alone of a robot that makes drinks for an entire party is something to smile about. The Barobot team is wise not to get too involved in the technical side of things, going so far as to compare assembling the device to playing with LEGO. Barobot is looking to raise £90,000 to handle production of the device.

The Perks. The Barobot is available to supporters for £774, complete with all of the necessary hardware in choice of color, and the app. For those that doubt their construction skills, the fully assembled version is available for £1,479, and those that want a one-of-a-kind personal touch can have their Barobot customized for £3,499. The first batch will ship in August, with more in September of 2014.

The Potential. Between the high-class image that comes with owning a bartending robot, the quality parts, and the open source design, the Barobot is a very tempting item to consider owning. The price point is a little high for a device that moves cups and pours shots, however, no matter how trendy it looks. It’s a shame to be turned off by the price alone when the rest of the machine is extremely likeable, but it will probably prove to be a price point too high for all but the most affluent of home technology show-offs.