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Cardboard Robot: Recyclable robotic arm for smartphone crane shots

Thanks to its corrugated construction, the Cardboard Robot lets you command your own industrial-size claw or film crane for a fraction of the cost of a metal arm.

Cardboard Robot
The Cardboard Robot has quite a reach.
Ken Ihara

A robotic crane arm with a 6-foot reach would normally weigh enough to make you grunt and sweat every time you had to move it. Not so with the Cardboard Robot, a large computer-controlled crane arm.

The programmable arm connects to a computer through USB and can be commanded to handle such tasks as picking up dirty socks off the floor or acting as your cameraman while you make "Star Wars" fan movies on your iPhone. The arm can handle just over half a pound when fully extended.

There are two attachments available. A claw end lets you create your own giant claw machine or a smartphone attachment lets you make sweeping panorama shots with your mobile camera. Choose either kit for a $175 pledge on Kickstarter or get both attachments for $225.

The kits come with all needed motors, screws, power supply, motor controller, and precut cardboard parts. Assembly is up to you.

Perhaps the Cardboard Robot's best quality is that it can't crush you once it attains sentience like Hal 9000.

Cardboard Robot claw and phone holder
Choose a claw, a smartphone attachment, or both. Ken Ihara