It’s 2013 and I was at the 3dprintshow in London. There was a large crowd gathered around a stand so naturally I was intrigued to see what the excitement was about. I knew the 3dprintshow was about to impress beyond anything I had ever seen before but nothing could prepare me for this. After manoeuvring through the bodies I came face to face with a 3dprinted robot that bore a striking resemblance to the robot from the movie ‘i robot’ with Will Smith. I had to find out more, this was the stuff of science fiction right here right now. The robot was responding to voice commands given by an operator and seemed highly intelligent, the robot could even take a ball out of a child’s hand when commanded to do so. The crowd was naturally left speechless and so was I. Upon further investigation I found out through Gael Langevin, the projects creater, that the whole design is open source and the files are freely available for anyone with a 12″x12″ 3dprinter to start experimenting. Without any real robotics experience Geal has created this fully functioning 3dprinted voice activated robot, that is free for anyone to have a go at printing their own. The fact that it is open source means you are free to adapt and improve the designs.
The project started when Gael was tasked with creating a 3dprinted modern looking prosthetic hand for a commercial photo shoot. He had acquired a ‘Bits from Bytes’ 3D touch printer (one I am extremely familiar with myself, having used one in education for the past three years) to prototype the hand on. The photoshoot ended up being cancelled but Gael still wanted to develop the limb, so he added servos and a ‘Arduino’, an open source electronics prototyping platform and created a fully programmable electronic hand. After posting the designs online for anyone to experiment with, the feedback he received was all positive and 3dprinting enthusiasts wanted more so he developed the project further into a full scale responsive robot. The result now being the InMoov project has a legion of followers world wide and Gael’s designs have been downloaded thousands of times.
This is why 3dprinting is so powerful and is really changing how we view and access technology. This project was usually the preserve of high tech research and development teams at Blue Chip companies or university PHD students, now the everyday consumer, through 3dprinting can access this project through it’s open source origins. When he was asked why the robot is open source he states, ‘I have no idea if they will improve our lives, robots are created by us. They will be our extensions somehow. Just like any tool they will be what we want them to become. I trust the human race even if everyday news shows mainly our negative side’. Truly inspiring words from the creator of this innovative project. This is one project I will follow to see how it develops. Fancy like having a go at 3dprinting your own InMoov robot? Download the files here;
InMoov will be at two shows in June the first being;
The second show will be the Paris Makerfaire on the 21st and 22nd June. Click the link below;
For more information on this ground breaking project click the robot below;
GaGaël Langevinël Langevin