Oh Kno it didn't! Tablet gets tested by Lego robot

The big dual-screen tablet aimed at students gets some quality assurance backup from a cool little homemade robot.

Kno being tested by Lego robot
A Lego robot tests how a stylus interacts with the Kno's touch screen by pulling the pen back and forth and up and down to mimic touch, sweep, and flick motions. Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

With today's proliferation of tablets it can be hard to distinguish one device from the next. But here's something that sets the Kno Textbook Tablet apart (besides its big dual displays and focus on students ): it's getting stress-tested by a Lego robot.

The Kno product development team needed a way to automate tests of the ambient light sensor and the note-taking stylus' interaction with the LCD touch screen. So they built a Lego robotic arm (they give it the far less sexy name of "accelerated life test apparatus") to shoulder the repetitive work.

In the behind-the-scenes video below, you'll see the arm directing the pen back and forth and up and down across a screen, while another robot makes the device itself go back and forth. The team has been testing the stylus for touch, sweep, and flick motions that mimic those of a non-robotic user taking handwritten notes.

The fancy dual-screen model of the Kno made its debut at the D: All Things Digital conference last year as a device optimized for reading e-textbooks and taking notes at the same time. The 5.5-pound Linux device can hold up to 10 semesters of content, the company says, and costs a whopping $899, though Kno says that price is competitive with other education-specific products on the market. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based start-up also offers a 2.5-pound tablet with a single, 14-inch screen for $599.

Both versions are currently selling on an invite-only basis to students and educators who commit to sharing their experiences with the device. Throw a free Lego robot in and we're betting a lot of people will be seriously tempted.

 

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