Aug 25, 2015 | By Alec

With an internet full of cheap electronics, hacking existing or 3D printed objects has never been easier, or more fun. That latter truth is especially emphasized by the large number of hackathons being organized all over the world – perfect places for finding fun and 3D printed original creations. A particularly interesting build just surfaced from the Ubuntu ShenZhen hackathon, where hacker Joseph Wang gave a new dimension to the 3D printable Rapiro robot by building an app that enables the robot to make R2D2-like noises and interact with the user.

Called MrRobot Project, this fun little creation completely revolves around the educational and open-source Rapiro robot. In case you’ve never heard of it, the Rapiro is a DIY robot kit that is fun and educational to assemble. It is also cute, and relies on a Raspberry Pi, a camera module and a series of servos to operate. It is also fully 3D printable, and all STL files can be downloaded here for free.

During the hackathon, Joseph started to work with the Rapiro and developed an Umbuntu Touch app-based robotics solution to add an extra dimension to this 3D printable robot. It gives it a voice, and enables you to interact with it by shaking or touching your phone. ‘Project MrRobot is an Ubuntu Mobile app enabled Robotics which has the feature of voice, touch and shake control to interact with the Rapiro robot,’ Joseph says. ‘This project is done within 28 hrs in Ubuntu Shenzhen Hackathon.’

What’s more, Joseph has decided to write up a set of instructions that will enable everyone to tackle this fun 3D printed robotic build and add a fun software dimension. It’s a perfect option for learning a bit more about programming, hacking, and app building. It also teaches you a lot more about working with a server powered by the Raspberry Pi board computer – a key component in any 3D printing build.

Interested? You will need a few parts, including an Ubuntu phone with Ubuntu Touch. You will also need a Raspberry Pi with a Wi-Fi dongle and Raspbian, a RAPIRO robot (which can be 3D printed and assembled for an extra educational dimension), the Ubuntu SDK, the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment), and the API. All you need to build the app.

As Joseph explains, this hack will give you three interactive options. ‘The first is touch screen which can allow user to directly touch the GUI to control the robot. Secondly, The API of accelerometer can detect serval movement like shake, that can also triggered some acts from Rapiro. On the bottom of the UI you can see a touch button which is the voice control button,’ he says. ‘Once you touch the button it will start to record the audio and you need to tap it when you finish the recording.’

If you’re interested, you can find the full tutorial on Instructables here, but the steps themselves are fairly straightforward. First, it’s a matter of installing the Ubuntu QT sdk and deploying the code on your Ubuntu phone. That process can be seen in the clip above. The next step is installing the web server on your Raspberry Pi and using the dongle to get on a local wireless network. All the necessary code for this can also be found on Instructables.

It’s really that simple. Afterwards, it’s a matter of taking apart the robot’s head and carefully installing the Pi onto the plate, and plugging in the audio wire and wifi dongle, and you’re good to go. However, especially in combination with 3D printing, assembling and setting up the Rapiro robot, this is a fun educational project that can introduce you to all the steps of hacking and making. Give it a try!


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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