Jul 10, 2016

Intel futurist Brian David Johnson is looking forward to the day when, much as today’s youth can’t imagine life without their smartphones, children of the future won’t know a life without robots. That’s why he’s spearheading the 21st Century Robot Project, an initiative that has been over ten years in the making, and is now ever closer to its goal, thanks to a super-intuitive online design program that lets users of all ages and skill levels design their own 3D printed robot based on customized personality traits and various accessories and aesthetic features.

The 21st Century Robot Project’s official mascot is an accessible, open source, 3D printed bipedal robot named Jimmy. Powered by Intel’s Edison chip, Jimmy runs on a Linux open source C++ framework, and everything about him is completely open source and customizable. His skeleton can be completely reconfigured, and users can add their own customized features and bring him to life thanks to 3D printing technology.

Intel's Jimmy the Robot

So far, Johnson and the team at Intel have designed and developed beta kits for their open source robot based on the Interbotix HR-OS1. However, the next phase in stimulating widespread acceptance of robotic technology is to encourage young minds to imagine what their robot would look like, and then actually bring it to life through an intuitive online design tool.

Powered by UK company Digital Forming, the new design platform is a kind of mental exercise that asks users to personalize their robots as though they were truly alive. They can then share their customized robot via social media, and eventually, they will be able to download the open source STL files directly through the program and 3D print their robot at home. “If you had a robot, would would it look like? What kinds of jobs would it do for you? What would its name be?” it asks. “Imagination is the first step. We dream it, then we do it.”

The Design Your Own Robot tool is incredibly simple to use. First, you pick a name for your robot. As Johnson explains, this is an important step because every robot is as individual as the person who created it. Next, you can endow your robot with different personality traits, making it agreeable, disagreeable, conscientious, spontaneous, extroverted or even neurotic--just like a real person. As you select various personality traits, the body shape and expression will change to correspond--wide open arms for an agreeable extrovert, and a haunched over 'bookworm' figure for the more conscientous-type. As far as accessories, users can pick between different hats or hairpieces, ears, legs, colors, and even props such as an electric guitar.

Eventually, users will be able to 3D print their customized robot directly via the platform. As Johnson explained, being open source and 3D printable are the key technological elements that will truly bring robots to the mainstream. “The beauty of open source design and apps is they enable users to decide what they want their robot to do and how it will look,” he said. “We don’t really know all of the things the robot can do. It’s really up to the users to decide and create the potential!”

“3D printing is the only manufacturing technology that allows individuals to easily customize and build their own robots from open source design files,” he continued. Building one-off parts with injection molding or CNC machining might work for mass-produced toys, but it isn’t realistic for consumers who want 100% individual products they can create at home.

While we are slowly becoming more accustomed to seeing robots in science fiction films and on TV, and some regions have already accepted robots for certain real-life situations, such as engineering, manufacturing, and healthcare, Intel and Johnson’s vision is to accelerate the adoption of robotic technology among consumers and students, encouraging today’s younger generation to be completely involved in the design, creation and programming of robots so that they can be a part of their every day lives. With this new Design Your Own Robot tool, 3D printed robots no longer need to be the stuff of science fiction or our imaginations. All that’s left for you is to do is to imagine, design, and build the 3D printed robot of your dreams.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Eleana wrote at 4/18/2018 5:59:03 PM:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive