Humanoid Robots 19
Overview of humanoid robots, how they work, and technologies used to build human like robots
I’m still dreaming to have my sweet own personal robot able to serve my breakfast and the coffee just as much as a professional butler. Once my vision is fulfilled in a faraway land, I have to search over the best platforms able to transform a humanoid robot in the best personal robot. In a generation of open-source projects that begins to take shape, Intel throws into robotics a platform that fits the formal definition of DIY culture.
Engineered to show off a number of tricks, the Jimmy is a human-like robotic kit with a fully customizable body, easy to build, and designed with attention and focus on open-source hardware and software.
Using a 3D printer, a list of software, the manual, a collection of CAD files, and several other components, you can build at home a robot able to walk, dance, talk, move his arms, and even tweeting.
The kit without the 3D printed body, software and several other components is planned to reach the market at a price of $1,600 for the hobbyist’s version, while an improved research version could reach the market at a price of $16,000. The kit includes all the components that cannot be printed or downloaded from the Internet.
The robot hands engineered with fingers and thumbs able to replicate human movement are now no longer a vision. Designed in mind for a specific platform, commercially available robotic hands are often too expensive, with a complex structure and difficult to modify. An alternative to a commercial hand is to use an open-source platform or rapid prototyping to build from scratch at home or in a laboratory a robotic hand.
When you start a new project, it’s understandable that the main focus is to develop an innovative product with impressive features and intended to solve the needs in better ways. Using simple materials, a 3D printer and a set of handyman tools, you can build at home robotic hands able to grasp and handle objects, as well as hands with haptic feedback and controlled with unique and technologically advanced glows.
Today, robotics is a rapidly growing field and it’s almost impossible to keep up with the demands. An open source platform designed for experimentation and with simple components is the perfect alternative to complex and expensive robotic hands available in stores.
If you’re ready to start building a robot hand, I put together a list of the best homemade projects that I think are more useful and inspirational for you, as well as open-source projects that you should get if you are able to experiment in different ways. (more…)
Compared to my mother’s generation, it is very clear that we grow in an age of open source, custom-fabricated components, and do-it-yourself product design.
Back in time, a joystick or a PC was the main tools to control a robot, while in our days at some points these control methods are technologically outdated. These tools were replaced with a smartphone or a Kinect sensor. To buy a humanoid robot, ten years ago you needed a large amount of money. To cut the costs, the manufacturers use commercially available parts and emerging technologies such as 3D printing. All of these new or improved technologies build a completely new industry by increasing the typical interests of makers, and a few trends began to emerge in the robotics world.
It is a strong connection between open-source and do-it-yourself human-like robots. You can choose to apply what you learn on a customizable kit while building a robot at home, or you can start making a robot in your garage based on the open-source projects.
Learning and trying to build new things is the key and the trend in developing new skills. The do-it-yourself method is a new way of making new products, and definitely is a new way to learn how to build a humanoid robot and to encourage the inventions and prototyping things. Sometimes a homemade robot seems never be completed. The more you work on it, the more you can extend it or improve its features.
Using an open-source platform you can increase your electronics, programming, and mechanics skills by adding new functionalities and write programs to run the robot in the physical world. These kinds of platforms are engineered to make programming and integrating several other components easy and inexpensive. With a comprehensive documentation and instructions, anyone can build custom components and improve the features of an open-source robot.
The Korea-based ROBOTIS company puts robot-building and programming into the hands of everyone with a new member of DARwIn family – the DARwIn-Mini. The Mini version of the DARwIn -OP is a friendly robot designed to resemble a person having simple hands, legs, and a head.
With a dynamic anthropomorphic structure and practical to build, the DARwIn -Mini finally makes the robot a reality for many tech hackers able to pay only several hundred dollars for a humanoid robot.
Designed in mind for education and research, Mini is a versatile and affordable version of the DARwIn -OP with a price under $500.
The body is an open-source platform engineered to receive customizable features. The robot can be controlled in three simple ways. One way is to use the C-based RoboPlus software with full control over the controller, the second method is to use a pre-programmed mobile application, while the third method is by voice command. All of the control options open the features of the Mini and allow you to play with the robot in a practical and funny way. (more…)
Designed with an eye towards classrooms or for robotic competitions, all of the humanoid robot kits explored in this article are no more than puzzles with a big impact on education and contests.
The classroom activity as well as the activity in competitions is a new experience for every student that tries to learn about robotics and in the same time to have fun doing it.
I write this article to help you to take the decision and choose the best robotics kit based on features, the flexibility of the platform and the field of use.
No matter which kit you decide to use, all of these wonderful piece of metal and plastic are engineered to give students an iterative engineering experience and the opportunity to the learn more about robots. (more…)