Friday, 29 April 2016

Robotical's 3D Printed Walking Robot

Robotical is launching a new robot. Yes, there are lots of programmable robots for kids around. This one is cool because it's a 3D printed humanoid robot that walks on two legs and can also use a camera for vision. This gives kids access to some different aspects of robotics.
"I really like the way it actually walks with legs and feet, most kids robots just wheel around."
Robotical's two-legged balancing robot is called Marty (previously Archie) but it's customizable and you can choose what to call yours. Walking is a hard problem, you've seen all those videos of humanoid robots falling over! Marty's 3-motor legs offer much more scope for kids to learn about kinematics (the science of mechanical motion) than traditional floor robots.

My 7 year old said "I really like the way it actually walks with legs and feet, most kids robots just wheel around." (He wants to build a robot dog with proper legs. We're working up to that with Roby!)

Here's an earlier version of the robot in action:

Marty can also be programmed via Wifi (which we think is going to replace Bluetooth and RF as the way to communicate with tech toys now that the tech has got cheaper.) And there's support for programming in Scratch which is really important to ease adoption for younger children. Older kids can move on to Python and C++.

Adding a camera also introduces the possibility of using image processing which is another really important aspect of modern robotics.

You might have noticed that we like 3D printing around here! Marty's parts and spares can be 3D printed which makes it easy to customise and replace bits. This definitely opens up opportunities for focusing on the physical design and appearance of a robot.

Robots in a range of colours have been 3D printed so far which is good because the world needs more non-blue robots for kids!

UPDATE! Marty the Robot on Indiegogo

Marty is assembled from a kit. Assembling a robot is a great way to get deeper insight into the physical aspects of robotics.

Marty has it's own electronics which can be expanded with sensors and outputs and can also be connected up to a more powerful board such as a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to enable even more capability.

Robotical's mini humanoid has already featured at maker faires and on a BBC micro:bit live lesson (at around 28mins) along with inventor Alexander Enoch.

Alexander sees his robot as "A low cost walking robot that's more than a toy!"

Robotical is based in Edinburgh and will be launching a crowdfunding campaign for Marty in the near future. We'll let you know when it goes live.

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