Hello Robo was founded with the vision of making personal robotics more accessible and affordable for everyone. To realize this vision, they are developing open source robots which can also be replicated using a desktop 3D printer. This enables educators and enthusiasts alike, anywhere, to create, share and expand upon each others work.
MAKI is an emotive robot capable of interacting with humans. Typically, robots capable of advance HRI are quite expensive. MAKI is low-cost, and can be replicated using a desktop 3D printer. Additional hardware, electronics and software are required to complete MAKI, all of which are available through Kickstarter and popular online retailers.
The goal with MAKI is to give hobbyist, researchers and students a platform to develop and share useful applications on. Like many of the robots, which Hello Robo Inc. has developed in the past, MAKI is intended to be open source. Backers are participating in the beta launch of MAKI. As they improve the design and functionality of MAKI, they will release updated files via their website.
MAKI was design specifically with 3D printing in mind, because of this, they actually incorporated support into the design itself. This also influenced the shape and printing orientation of each part. There was a lot of trial and error in finding the best shapes that minimized warping in larger parts. MAKI was printed with 3mm ABS using a Rapman 3.2 3D printer which is sold as a kit.
MAKI can range in uses from a simple animatronic head to an advanced HRI research platform. MAKI has an embedded USB webcam and microphone. Using a PC, MAKI is capable of vision processing with the help of paid software such as RoboRealm and open source software such as OpenCV.
MAKI is compatible with popular software such as ROS, Pypose and RoboRealm. MAKI can also be used with Arduino IDE. More advanced users familiar with ROS can take advantage of libraries and tools such as the arbotix_python package to help give MAKI actual intelligence. Hello Robo Inc. will create an ROS library including a complete robot model (URDF) if this project meets or exceeds their stretch goals.
MAKI is also modular in design, which means that parts on MAKI can be easily replaced or upgraded. they have future plans for a Raspberry Pi edition of MAKI as well as a design which incorporates an interchangeable smartphone cradle.
This Kickstarter project will only be funded if at least $5,000 is pledged by Friday Apr 26, 9:59am MDT.
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