Culture Japan is Using 3D Printing to Develop a Four-Foot-Tall Smart Doll Android

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3dp_smartdoll_insides_editThe host of the Japanese lifestyle show Culture Japan is going to start selling a walking, talking android that looks like, what else, an anime character. The Smart Doll Plus is a four-foot-tall version of a fashion doll that is fashioned after Culture Japan’s mascot, named Mirai Suenaga.

In addition to being a cool walking robot, she will be able to act as a home security management unit, and will be connected to the internet 24/7. This will allow her to essentially act as a walking Siri with articulated limbs and she will be loaded with AI that will allow her to pick up objects and bring them to you.

Culture Japan has been selling a smaller, two-foot version of the Smart Doll for about a year and she has already become a huge seller. She has been so popular that it can take up to six weeks for delivery, and several other fashion dolls are being planned. But designer Danny Choo’s primary goal has always been to make a robotic version of Mirai. Due to the limitations of 3D printer build envelope volume and print resolution, the size of the doll was limited to 60cm. Unfortunately commercially available robotics are not available at that size, so Choo would have had to develop his own, which was simply not a viable option.

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Up until recently Choo was limited to 3D printing his prototypes on his Form1 because he needs very high resolution prints that can be used to create electro molds for the doll’s parts. But he recently acquired the ATOM 2.0 3D printer, which has a build volume large enough for a four-foot-tall robot, and has a print resolution of 50 microns, easily detailed enough to create a clean mold.

3dp_smartdoll_atom3dp_full_editThe ATOM 2.0 is a very high quality delta-style 3D printer that produces some of the cleanest FDM prints that I’ve ever seen. It also has a very large build area that can accommodate parts as tall as 22 x 32 cm. The parts are so detailed that they can 3D print the robot’s gears and cog wheels. The ATOM 2.0 is available for pre-order now.

Choo said that while the Smart Doll Plus can be linked to a home’s security system, he is forbidden by the Japanese government from selling his technology to the military, and he will be programming her AI that will obey the Three Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Of course that means that he can fit her with all kinds of non-lethal protection options like stun guns and pepper spray dispensers. Honestly, if the image of four-foot-tall anime girl robots attacking burglars and other home intruders doesn’t make you feel like you’re living in the future then I just don’t know what to tell you. Skynet is coming, and she will be wearing a Japanese school girl outfit. 3dp_smartdoll_choo_edit

Once the 3D printed Smart Doll Plus parts have been elecromolded, it will be cast in a soft vinyl material so it is smooth to the touch. It will have the “Smart Socket” design that allows the doll to be attached to a posing stand without requiring holes in any of the clothing. And her styling and aesthetic will match the smaller, non-robotic version of Mirai Suenaga and will come with the same clothing options.

Yes, clothing options. Because this is Japan, there will be an entire line of custom designed clothes so you can change your anime security bots clothing into an entire range of styles. They even have options as diverse as the hijab for households who want their security robots to respect the rules of their faith. And over on the other side of the spectrum, you can even select from three different bust sizes, because why have breasts on your robots if they all have to be the same size?

The robotic Smart Doll Plus will stand on her own at 120cm and weigh 16.5kg. You can read all about the development of the Smart Doll Plus and her smaller sister the Smart Doll over on Culture Japan. What would you do with your 3D printed android? Tell us about it over on the Smart Doll Plus forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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