Jan 7, 2016 | By Andre
Long gone are the days when the thought of useful robots are reserved for science fiction writers and 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoons. There’s no doubt that the recent explosion of 3D printing, 3D scanning, and drone technology is making an impact on the daily lives of those that see the potential. Through all of these developments however, the space left over for the automated robotic arm has largely remained in the industrial realm; and even then primarily for automotive manufacturing and easily out of reach for the average consumer.
Carbon Robotics is trying to change this with the introduction of a low-cost modular robotic arm named KATIA (short for Kick Ass Trainable Intelligent Arm). Their robotic arm can pick up, rotate and put back down anything that weighs up to 1kg and even has a swing radius of 1 meter. The promise of this device really only begins there however.
A major focus by the team behind the robotic arm has always been the idea of it being “infinitely customizable” in that it is modular in nature. They’ve already demonstrated 3D print, scan and laser-cutting modules that are easily swappable. The API they are releasing to developers should also provide any number of yet-to-be-imagined possible modules to boot.
Also important for the team's consumer level focus is ease of use. When comparing their device to what's out there today, Co-founder and CEO Rosanna Myers suggests that “you generally need an advanced degree just to get started,” but with Katia “you can physically guide the arm through a routine that it plays back perfectly. For something more complicated, you can use [their] app, a leap motion or kinect.”
From a 3D print perspective, no technical specs are provided as of yet, but one of the speakers during the CES Live Stream (begins around the 4 hour and 50 minute mark) mentions micron level accuracy at a close distance. And heck, the 3D printed cupcake they were able to demonstrate doesn't look half-bad at this stage of development.
On top of all of this, the low price point has major implications on the big-picture side of things. Rosanna talked passionately about how “today the cheapest robotic arm you can get is over $20,000. KATIA has those capabilities, for the price of a laptop.” At a projected cost of $2,000, the team hopes for a mass-adoption of modular robotic arm technology that has never existed before by suggesting that a “sub $5,000 robotic arm is the holy grail of robotics.”
From what they’ve come up with so far, I really believe the team of Dan Corkum and Rosanna Myers is on to something. They’ve done the leg work to get this far and if the over 800 applicants that signed up for early developmental testing is any indication, the interest is there. They’ve even garnered a tremendous amount of attention from aerospace, bio, manufacturing and the list goes on.
Of course there is still a long way to go before this product will hit the market, but with a competent team (listed in the Forbes 2016 30 under 30 Manufacturing list) and gaining momentum on their side, I have no doubt they’ll deliver on their promise of a low-cost, easy to use modular robotic arm.
Posted in 3D Printer
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James wrote at 1/14/2016 3:08:16 AM:
This thing is amazing cant wait for it to come out