Bot-In-a-Box started out in 2016 as a crazy idea:

"What if we could create an affordable educational robot kit for kids with a 3D Printer and some readily-available electronics?"

That crazy idea was met with another one, arguably just as crazy:

"What if we entered this idea into the premier Ontario high-school business pitch contest?"

The "we" in this context is myself, Matthew Piercey, and my good friend Taylor Reevie.

Below is our original video for the OCE MakeYourPitch Contest, put together in a night with an old camcorder and free editing software. It doesn't look like much, but with the help of our classmates, family, and friends voting for it, our video became one of the 20 finalist videos, and we got a free ticket to the province-wide finals!

Below is a picture from the 2016 OCE Discovery conference; pictured are the finalists of the 2016 MakeYourPitch contest. I'm in the middle row just left of the centre of the first picture.

MakeYourPitch 2016 Finalists
MakeYourPitch 2016 Judges

At OCE Discovery 2016, I pitched the idea in front of a panel of judges, and our idea became one of the six to win the contest!

MakeYourPitch 2016 Awards

As a part of winning the competition, we were given membership into the Ontario government's Summer Company program, which was a lot of fun and helped us gain some valuable insight into how to run a business.  Below is a picture of Taylor and I at Staples4Biz day in 2016:

Matthew and Taylor at Stapes - 2016

We worked long and hard in 2016 to make our first real product, the B^3 CE, a reality. We sold out of our small supply of parts in a few weeks after launch and created hours of programming tutorials to go along with them (which I'm currently in the process of migrating to the Open Source page on this site and Bot-In-a-Box's GitHub repo). All seemed to be going great for Bot-In-a-Box.

But, then life hit. We got really busy what with school, life, and being part of an FRC robotics team called the JavaWockies. Which is where Taylor found his calling - as captain-turned-mentor of a robotics team he helped found.

So, it's just me now. Matthew Piercey. I'm not in Grade 11 anymore. Matter of fact I'm not in high school anymore. I graduated from Heritage Christian Academy and am attending https://www.trentu.ca/ Trent University in Peterborough for Business Administration with an Emphasis in Information Systems and Technology (I'm in my second year). Given my past few years of activity, I think it's rather fitting, and I'm enjoying it so far.

So, you'd think I've given up on Bot-In-a-Box, right? And, that this is a farewell to all the people who made it happen as I go on to "bigger and better things." Well, if you were thinking that, you'd be mistaken. Bot-In-a-Box is not dead, despite the radio silence that's been the last year and a bit.

But, my problem was that I was looking at it all the wrong way. I became so obsessed with one idea that I wanted to bring to fruition while forgetting the spirit of the original pitch.

To that end, I'm in the process of putting the finishing touches on Project Rover, the latest in low-cost, open-source, 3D-printable educational robotics toys, proudly designed in Canada by a Canadian passionate about making electronics learning accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of income, technical prowess, or engineering skill. It's powered by a WiFi-enabled, Linux-compatible mini-computer called the Raspberry Pi Zero W, and it's compatible with NODE-RED, an intuitive, visual JavaScript programming tool.

I was about to release it a few weeks ago, but I had issues with the Orange Pi Zero, the old computer I used in the kit, so I basically had to redo everything. But, I'm back at it, and in a few more weeks I'll have a fully-working prototype.

To all of you who've been following Bot-In-a-Box, I'd like to extend my gratitude. You're one of the major reasons I haven't given up on this yet.

Sincerely,

Matthew Piercey - Co-founder, Owner, and Webmaster of Bot-In-a-Box Educational Robotics

Matthew Piercey's Profile Picture