PSFK’s Trending Topic: Home-Grown Robots Hit The Mainstream

Researchers are creating robotics kits for personal use that can be created and assembled anywhere.


From Intel’s 21st Century Robot kit that lets you 3D-print a robot at home to robotic furniture that self-assembles based on what you need, we’ve noticed a range of innovations in robotics, specifically around the area of home-grown robots that help bring these devices mainstream and into people’s homes.

Check out some of these devices below.

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Intel’s Vision Of 3D-Printed Robots

Intel’s 21st Century Robot Kit will soon allow anyone with a 3D printer at home to create their own fully customized robot. Intel’s project will give people access to printable hardware designs. The kit will include gadgetry like wiring, motors, and a processor – items that cannot be 3D-printed – and everything is entirely open source so users will be able to customize what their robot will look like. The software is open source as well to allow developers to create apps that will serve as the robot’s programming. The kit is priced at $1000 at launch, but Intel hopes to eventually make it available for half that price.

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Robotic Furniture Changes Shape Based On User’s Needs

A team of researchers from the Biorobotics Laboratory (BIOROB) at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed robotic modules called Roombots, which move and change shape to transform into different kinds of furniture like a bench or a table, as needed by the user. The Roombots can be stacked together and can latch on to or release other modules to change their configuration into the shape required. The researchers also created a type of surface that the Roombots can use as an anchor and as an interface between them and static or passive objects that already exist in the room.

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MIT Develops Robots That Self-Assemble When Heated

Researchers at MIT have developed printable robotic components that fold into a 3D shape when they are “baked” in heat. The team of researchers, led by Professor Daniela Rus, created the robotic components in the hopes that they can be used to create self-assembling designs that can function on their own and fold together like origami. The researchers also envision that the components can be used to create working devices in the home or in different industries.

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Extra Robotic Limbs Help The Wearer Perform Tasks

Researchers at the d’Arbeloff Laboratory at MIT have developed a set of Supernumerary Robotic Limbs or SRL that are designed to provide assistance to the wearers. There are two SRL prototype models – a shoulder-mounted set of robotic arms and a waist-mounted set of robotic limbs. The robotic arms are meant to serve as an extra set of limbs and not as replacement for missing limbs. They are designed to help out when the wearer’s natural limbs are occupied.

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