The world’s first 3D printable robot is here, and armies of the crafty open source PLEN2 will no doubt push humanity into a bright (and possibly creepy) future, walking hand in hand with humanoids.
By providing the software and specs, anyone with a 3D printer can fully customize their own PLEN2 bots.
You do not even have to buy the assembled PLEN2 or the assembly kit full of its parts (or have Top Secret level clearance).
What do you need to play the role of the Creator sans all knowledge of robotics?
That’s right, the PLEN2 can be your own Dr. Frankenstein project with as little as a screwdriver, though you will probably want to remember to turn tighty righty, lefty loosey to accomplish anything with those screws and printed bionic limbs. Once put together, an armband, iPhone or Android device can help you move the little critter.
For those with robotics expertise, the control board of the happy looking PLEN2 (see the picture with the dress) is Arduino compatible and ROS MiddleWare is available.
And the highly maneuverable PLEN2 has 18 joints, 18 degrees of freedom, so this little PLEN2 can play ball, dance, and pivot in impressive ways!
3D data for the main components of the robot are provided so anyone can customize the data and make their own original PLEN2 parts.
Natsuo Akazawa, the Founder and CEO of the PLEN Project Company, has been teaching the nuances of robotics for ten years, including workshops for children, and he has been studying the relationships between humans and humanoids. He is hoping that through Kickstarter crowdfunding the PLEN2 can be the tool to help move this field dramatically forward.
The Asimov science fiction enthusiast in me shudders to think what this type of open source and fully customizable technology could be in the hands of some heinous villain, but even I cannot deny the cute, incredibly agile, and adept abilities of the 20 centimeter tall PLEN2 robots to help rehabilitate in the medical field and teach in the educational sector.
I just hope an army of PLEN2 bots do not break down my door any time soon.