Andrew Wheeler from 3D Printing Industry
At the 4 Years From Now convention in Barcelona, the 3D printed Humanoid Robot developed by Robosavvy was a big hit. And it’s no surprise: When your robot is 3D printed, drives a Segway, and can be controlled by an Oculus Rift headset, heads will turn and water coolers will be populated by pointed conversation.
Robosavvy distributes and resells robotics and 3D printing technology, and focuses on producing custom robots for anything from research and engineering, to live events and television appearances (IBM’s Watson just got nervous). Their robot happily greeted the over 5,000 visitors to the Barcelona show, further demonstrating the interplay between humans and robots that is the subject of an ongoing university project.
The robot isn’t entirely 3D printed of course, since 3D printers can’t print all of its features, such as its 30 motors and an i7 computer. Both exterior (head, arms, and hands) and interior (electronics trays) components were 3D printed with a Makerbot Replicator 2x.
This is something you have to see to believe. And you can actually see what the robot sees by watching it through an up-linked Oculus Rift headset. The base of the Segway is standing on a modified self-balancing platform which is remote controlled by the user.
Robots replacing humans is seen by some people as a negative aspect of an approaching dystopian future, and I can see their point. However, jobs that require individuals to learn how to build, maintain, and innovate with robots will be on the upswing, so it’s time to hit the books.
Robosavvy’s 3D printed humanoid robot is a prototype, but bringing it to the 4 Years From Now convention in Barcelona made it a showpiece indicative of a future that is, of course, not set in stone. But, yeah, robots are going to replace humans. And then maybe, they’ll present a genetically modified human at a conference and a world populated mainly by robots.
Here’s an interview with Limor Schweitzer at the show, and you can see our robot friend in action:
I had the chance to ask Limor a few questions via email, and he was kind enough to reply. Thanks Limor.
3DPI: How were people interacting with the robot in Barcelona?
Limor: People were amazed by the magic of the robot riding a segway. Every VIP delegation was chaperoned to our area and every media correspondent took the time to film and ask questions. People did selfies with the robot.
3DPI: Where do you think robotics and 3D printing are headed in the near future?
Limor: Robotics projects be it with commercial, education and fun intentions are booming thanks to desktop 3d printers, alibaba, crowd funding and of course random acquisitions by Google. This environment encourages creativity and entrepreneurial risk-taking. Desktop 3d printers allow quick access to CAD designed parts that serve as mechanical structure or connectivity in an assembly. doing mechanical structure prototyping is exponentially accelerated thanks to 3d printed parts and ebay/alibaba cheap industrial components.
3DPI: Where do you see Robosavvy in 3-5 years?
Limor: Our retail business continues to grow every year and we manage to always keep ahead of the game sourcing cutting edge robotics related products and components catered at the hobby tech connoisseurs, education and research. Our lab is maturing and getting more demanding projects. We plan to roll out several significant mobile robotics projects for domestic and commercial uses. So in 3-5 years our brand will hopefully be a household name in the upcoming personal robotics market.