“Say hello to MAKI” – these are the first words that came from a video presentation of a humanoid robot that came to live in a 3D printer.
MAKI is a 3D printable robot with six smart servos and on board ROBO control using ZigBee wireless mesh network standard. The design includes the open-source concept which could be an invaluable resource for research and educational purposes. The idea behind the project is to open a path for creating robots more affordable and more accessible for everyone.
MAKI is friendly and has a human-like head with two big eyes to catch our attention. It has a simple design and a structure which can be replicated using a simple 3D printer. Why did use a 3D printer and not parts that can be bought on the Internet? The answer is simple. The 3D printers market increased in recent years and the price drop from tens of thousands to thousands of dollars which are more affordable and can be used at home. Once with an increased popularity of 3D printing technology, the company releases MAKI in the idea to be built at home, at school or wherever is available a 3D printer.
We cannot create any shapes and then build a robot. The result could be tragic and also at the end there is no robot. The secret is to insert in the design of the robot shapes that transmit compassion, friendship, empathy and sympathy. All of these are in the same place and in the same unit, this is MAKI. More than that, the robot has to interact and the best interaction is with a human. The most advanced humanoid robots can interact in a high degree level, they can understand our words, can give us an answer, and can feel or recognize.
All these robots are not accessible to everyone. They have big prices and are not available on the large scale. The cheapest advanced humanoid robots could have a price between €1,000 EUR and more than €30,000 EUR. And, these are the cheapest robots. Hello Robo trying to create an affordable humanoid robot and not just for US people, they try to put this robot on the worldwide desks.
The research in the robotic fields cannot take place without the presence of robots. The elapsed time between designing a robot and further research is most often a dead time. Here comes MAKI. Instead to build robots, the researchers should focus on research using 3D printed robots.
For what was built MAKI? For humans. But not just look at him, it was designed to interact with humans.
Perhaps taking the example of PR2 robot designed by Willow Garage, many robotic companies design open-source robots for use in education or research. Many of these robots can be programmed or modified the components. None of these cannot be recreated from scratch using just some CAD files with a 3D printer. MAKI is different. It can be built from scratch and also programmed.
It uses open source software to control, for vision and sounds. All of these software can be updated with new features.
This is not the first and not the last robot build using a 3D printer. Some days ago I write an article about a robot built using a 3D printer by a sculptor. The result is one of the most interesting project designed by a sculptor and is part of the robotics world.
Hello Robo is the company behind MAKI with the headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Hello Robot trying to create an affordable robot project that skip all the complex processes after which a robot comes to life. They win and just with a 3D printer and a lot of bags with imagination. Their project is a personal robot with simple design and which can be replicated in the easiest way possible, using a printer. The final product combines in the purest way possible the mathematics and science. They define a new path for education, students who are preparing to build the robots of the future. These robots are just a click away. The robots of the future could be downloaded as files and take shapes using a simple 3D printer.
The final design take shapes after many trials and errors. MAKI was printed using 3mm ABS and a Rapman 3.2 3D printer. The main parts of the robots are maximized to give greater freedom in movements for robotic parts. For moving parts was used six AX-12 Dynamixel Actuators. The robot is controlled using an Arbotix Robocontroller and is compatible with Arduino IDE.
For complex tasks like object tracking, the robot require high computing power besides its own processing power.
The robot weight just 1.86 Kg and has a total of six degrees of freedom. It is compatible with Arduino IDE, Pypose, Roborealm, or ROS software. For enthusiastic programmers MAKI can be programmed in C, C++, Java, or Python.
- Height: 342 mm;
- Width: 155 mm;
- Depth: 184 mm;
- Weight: 1.86 Kg;
- Degrees of Freedom: 6;
- Controller: Arbotix Controller;
- Compatible Software: Arduino IDE, Pypose, Roborealm, ROS;
- Programming Languages: C, C++, Java, Python;
- Vision: LifeCam VX-800 Webcam;
- Communication: XBee Wireless, USB;
- Power: 12V – 5A Power Supply;
The price is different, very different than other human-like robots. The price of MAKI depends of 3D printer. If you have one compatible with this project, you just have to use it. If you don’t have a 3D printer, now you have the opportunity to buy one and start to build the MAKI. Requirements for a 3D printer is to have the envelope with at least these dimensions: 150mm x 150mm x 175mm.
Using a suit of open-source software and the electronics parts, the final product can have a price around €375 EUR (~$500 USD).