Robotics and 3D printing will likely change the face of manufacturing around the world over the coming decade, allowing companies to make products cheaper and faster, with less of an environmental impact. At the same time, the DIY/maker movement will continue to thrive as the manufacturing tools are placed within the home for everyone to utilize. We have seen this already with desktop 3D printers, but we may be in for a double whammy of sorts, as the robotics industry has their eyes set on micro manufacturing.
Imagine having the capabilities of a major manufacturing facility within your own garage or small warehouse. That’s just what one small company based out of London, England, called Automata Technologies is trying to do with their new robotic arm, the Eva.
Founded by Mostafa ElSayed & Suryansh Chandra earlier this year, the company has been working on a 3D printable robotic arm that’s about the size of an average human arm. They are targeting the consumer as well as the small and medium sized enterprise segments of the market, in an effort to transform manufacturing.
“We believe robotic automation can bring a huge amount of creativity in addition to enhancing productivity to small businesses and individual users,” they explain on their website. “Over the coming years, these will change the way we live and work. But first, these robots need to become a whole lot easier to use, safer to work beside, and substantially more affordable. Eva is our first product in our commitment to meet those goals, by being a low-cost, easy to use and lightweight robotic arm. We like to think of Eva as an assistant that can give you a helping hand in a variety of uses whether you’re a business, hobbyist, or an educator.”
The robotic arm will be officially launched within weeks (by the end of the summer) according to the company, and may just be a revolution within the DIY robotics space. Not only are 80% of Eva’s components 3D printed, including many of its functional parts as well as its shell, but the arm itself is incredibly light weight, tipping the scale at just 2.5kg. Additionally EVA will be amazingly accurate with precision movements down to just 1 mm, while having similar dexterity as a human arm, with 6 degrees of freedom.
These specs are all great, but what about the learning curve to program such a device? If the Eva is going to make its way into homes, garages, and small businesses around the globe, it will have to be easy to control. Automata understands this and has been working diligently on a multi-platform control application they call choreoGraph. Using the choreoGraph app, Automata claims that one can control Eva just as easily as playing a game of Angry Birds on a smartphone or a tablet. Additionally, in a similar fashion to Rethink Robotics’ Baxter robot, users are able to physically guide the arm to do a task, while at the same time the software records the movements and can repeat them over and over again.
With plans to price the arms at between $3,000 and $4,500, and the eventual goal of offering it for under $2,000, along with the ability for a user to attach just about any tool to the arm via 3D printed components, this device may be just what the robotics community has craved. The company hopes to be able to iterate upon the design, adding new features on a whim, thanks to the majority of the components being 3D printed. More details on the Automata Eva are forthcoming as the company prepared to enter the market with a bang.
Let us know your thoughts on this 3D printable robotic arm in the Automata Eva forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of Eva in action below: