Multipurpose Robot For The Masses

As the cost of almost every technology comes falling down, from electronics to batteries to even tools like 3D printers, the cost to build things formerly out of reach of most of us becomes suddenly very affordable. At least, that’s what [John Choi] has found by building a completely DIY general purpose robot for around $2000.

OK, so $2000 isn’t exactly “cheap” but considering that something comparable (like Baxter) costs north of what a new car would cost means that [John] has dropped the price for a general-purpose robot by an order of magnitude. And this robot doesn’t skimp on features, either. It has a platform that allows it to navigate rooms, two manipulating limbs with plenty of servos, a laptop “head” that allows for easy interface, testing, and programming, and an Arduino Mega that allows it to interface with any sensors or other hardware with ease. It’s also modular so it can be repaired and transported easily, and it uses open source software and open hardware so it’s easy to build on.

This robot is an impressive piece of work that should help bring this technology to more than just high-end factories and research labs. They’ve already demonstrated the robot watering plants, playing the piano, picking things up, and many other tasks. We’d say that they’re well on their way to their goal of increasing the number of students and hobbyists who have access to this technology. If the $2k price tag is still too steep, though, there are other ways of getting into robotics without diving headfirst into a Baxter-like robot.



13 thoughts on “Multipurpose Robot For The Masses

  1. Pretty cool!

    Does it know to blame the dog for pissing on the carpet when it misses the pot while watering the plants? :P

    I’d love to play around with a robot like that. :)

    1. Frequency is kinda neat.. I like that they are getting to spread their wings or whatever.

      I think it is time for them to look hard at the ars technica website homepage though, or do something about organization. It is indeed very hard to keep up in the current format!

  2. Having built a similar robot I can warn anyone who wants to build it: this thing WILL tip over if it encounters even a tiny bump, especially things like door jambs.

    For research purposes only!

  3. Currently sitting in-front of a BAXTER robot, which I have worked with on and off for a couple of years.

    Believe me this is nothing like baxter. Baxter is a compliant robot, with sprung joints, position feedback, full ROS integration, and simulation software..

    This is several servo motors, an arduino, and some python

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