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.
Inside the DARwIn-Mini
With this version of the DARwIn, the Korean manufacturer took a different approach and simplify the mechanics and electronics of the robot. The result is a simple but practical humanoid robot with small and childlike features.
The brain of Mini is a controller based on the 32-bit ARM Cortex M3. The controller has support for a C-based programming language, something similar to the Arduino.
For communication is integrate a dedicated Bluetooth modem able to change information with a smartphone or a tablet. Inside its body, Mini host a long list of sensors including IR, color, touch, magnetic, temperature, ultrasonic, and gyroscope. The list of sensors can be completed with 4 new sensors as add-ons.
The entire system is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery able to keep alive the robot for several tens of minutes.
All motion functions are maintained with Dynamixel XL-320 actuators. This type of actuators can provide information about position, load, temperature, or input voltage.
How to Control a DARwIn –Mini
The DARwIn-Mini could create waves in the tech community with affordable technology and several options to control. With an open-source software and C-based programming language, the Mini can be programmed to perform a wide range of tasks.
Instead using the internal software, you can run an Android application to control the movement of the robot via smartphone. Another option is to use voice commands that can be interpreted by the voice recognition system.
DARwIn –Mini Body
The Mini is the robot that you can print and animate if you have a 3D printer and some building skills. Its body is completely upgradable for people who love to build and take apart things. Using a 3D printer you can build in different colors the body parts or creates custom components.
All the components that can be printed are available in digital format on Thingiverse.