Natsuo Akazawa wants humans to have a better understanding of robotics. He believes that this will change the relationship between robots and humans. His company PLEN Project Company Ltd is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund their PLEN2 robot and billing it as the first printable open-source humanoid.
PLEN2’s command center is an Arduino compatible controller that will also work with the Robotic Operating System (ROS.) The board can control twenty four rc-servo motors and will function through both iOS and Android apps.
The head board comes standard with BLE113 Bluetooth smart module and a six axis motion sensor. Pulse width modulation will control the LEDs that PLEN2 uses for eyes. A special developer edition of the head board uses the Intel Edison platform.
The project is open source for the robot controls and also the visuals. 3d printing data will be supplied for users to print their own robot and also to make modifications to the shape and look of the robot. The developers take pride in the fact that the only tool needed to assemble the robot is a screwdriver, and no specialized technical knowledge is needed for the build.
Fully constructed the robot is a little less than eight inches tall and weighs around one and a half pounds. The eighteen joints included in the construction give the system its maneuverability. Kits for assembly and fully assembled robots are expected to ship in November 2015.
PLEN2 looks amazing in the campaign video. It’s obvious that the product has gone through a full development cycle and is ready to be mass produced. The team is very candid about the possible issues that could arise with component pricing, process validation testing and final manufacturing in the Risks and Challenges page. The goal of educating people about robotics while strengthening the bonds between humans and technology is definitely a worthy one.