When it comes to breaking boundaries in the robotics field, 3D printing technology has emerged as one of the more resourceful and complementary tools to do so. Whether 3D printing is used to create the autonomous soft-bodied Octobot or to produce muscles for Zizzy, a personal robot created to assist those with limited mobility, 3D printing technology has become increasingly integrated with the development of all types of robotic systems. Back in 2015, the Beijing-based robotics startup Roboeve developed the 3D printable Xpider, a small programmable robot spider originally inspired by the Tachikoma robot found in the Japanese manga series Ghost in the Shell.
Their tiny robotic arachnoid was created with 26 different designs, each of which consists of 40 3D printed parts, ensuring that each Xpider is unique and personalized. Thus far, the spider robot has already gained immense popularity within the maker community, and was one of the most popular designs on the hardware project platform Wevolver. Earlier this week, Roboeve launched an Indiegogo campaign to help bring the 3D printed spider robot to production, looking to share their neural network-powered creation with the rest of the world.Roboeve’s new and improved Xpider is available with an Arduino module or an Intel Curie module, which includes a six-axis combo accelerometer and gyroscope sensor, enabling the 3D printed robot to track its own movement and utilize gesture recognition. The Curie module also includes an Intel Quark SE microcontroller with an advanced pattern-matching engine, allowing the robot to “learn” as it scurries around on its eight legs. The tiny spider robot measures out to just 3.4 inches in diameter and weighs 5.3 oz, making it convenient to carry around and play with the Xpider anywhere.
Roboeve is also providing a collection of 3D design files for users to customize and modify their Xpider. These designs are under a CC BY-NC-SA license and can be downloaded from Wevolver. The Xpider will include an integrated camera, which will allow users to stream the camera feed from their smartphone or tablet. The SmartNode software will enable anyone to easily program the 3D printed robotic arachnid with any computer or iPad equipped with Roboeve’s drag and drop system. Users can also program the Xpider by using the the neural network within the Intel Curie module. In addition, features such as facial recognition, distance sensors, and a remote control can be used to teach the robot how to interact with people, obstacles, sounds, lights, and more.
With their newly launched crowdfunding campaign, Roboeve is looking to raise $30,000, and plans to ship the Xpider to their customers by February 2017. Early bird crowdfunding backers can obtain the Intel Curie version of the Xpider for just $129, while the Arduino version of the robot requires a $99 contribution. Essentially, the enhanced module in the Curie version provides a more powerful processor than Arduino. So, for those searching for some robotic companionship, look no further than Xpider, the so-called “smallest programmable spider robot” in the entire world. Discuss further in the Roboeve 3D Printed Robotic Spider forum over at 3DPB.com
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