Jul.1, 2013

The first ever 3D printed interactive robotic smartphone controlled doll is going to be 60 cm tall. This "Smart Doll" is modeled after the character Mirai Suenaga, the mascot character for the Culture Japan brand.

Mirai Suenaga was born in 2007, according to Danny Choo of Culture Japan, Mirai has had appearances in Japanese games, anime and has even become a mascot on Malaysia's electronic payment system cards called Touch n Go. Mirai has also had figures made of her and her own cosplay page.

Danny Choo has been working on building this Smart Doll using 3D printing, and right now the design is about 70% complete.

Having everything designed in 3D instead of traditional manual sculpting means the team can not only make modifications easily, but also use the data to make interesting video sequences.

Choo uses the software ZBrush to sculpt the body. Then the data is imported into 3D Max for various tweaks and to make sure everything moves and fits together. Netfabb is used to prepare the data and .stl files are then sent to an Envisiontec Ultra 3D printer to print the parts. While printing, a DLP projector projects a slice of the 3D model downwards onto a bath of liquid resin. The area exposed to the light hardens and the build plate moves down into the bath by about 0.2mm where the process is repeated until the 3D model is complete. The support structures can be easily snapped off by hand and the remaining bits have to be snipped off and sanded down. Total cost of printing is about 100,000 yen (USD1000 / EUR769), writes Choo.

And the following video goes into more detail as to how the parts are printed.

The below image shows what Mirai looks like after sanding down, priming and a few cans of spray paint. The eyes were made out of resin.

Smart Doll has all the robotics completely hidden underneath the soft vinyl skin. It has 24 servomotors to control the movement for the hands, limbs and arms. The arm even contains sensors which detect their current location. The CPU unit is completely custom built and will be installed in the removable head. Along with this, the multiple sensors which include touch, ultrasound, visual, acoustic and location sensors provide for all the robotic smartness of this doll.

CNC turning techniques are used to make shoulder and elbow joints. The AeonFrame keeps the servomotors and control circuits powering up the legs, torso, neck and shoulders for smooth movement.

Choo is working on the development of the software which controls all 24 servomotors and users will be able to operate their Mirai doll with a smartphone. A speaker will be installed which works with sensors so that the Smart Doll can say things like "welcome back home". And it will also notify users about Twitter and Facebook mentions via movement.

Mirai is not designed to walk but she will be able to balance and shift her hips left & right, back & forth. Eyes and mouth will not move, only cute head motions.

Choo plans to mass-produce this doll once the team has got all the design right. They will make parts using injection moulding which is more suitable for mass production.

You can follow Choo's progress on his detailed blog post and watch the video below the introduction of Smart Doll.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Brock wrote at 2/9/2014 8:03:36 PM:

The doll was never spray painted, the 3D printed model was cast, and the doll we see with the flesh tone skin is made f vinyl, and from the mold of the 3D printed parts. The vinyl itself is the colour of Mirai's skin.

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