French Designer Uses 3D Printer to Create Humanoid Robot

A French artist and designer named Gael Langevin has taken the idea of a "build your own robot" kit to the next level through an ambitious hobbyist project called InMoov. The open-source project's ultimate goal is a full-sized animatronic humanoid robot that can be printed and assembled by anyone with a 3D printer.

Langevin writes a detailed
blog about the project, charting its progress every step of the way by sharing sketches of his work and the trial-and-error process of designing the robot. The blog also includes the printer files for the robot for free download. The robot can then be assembled from those parts and off-the shelf electronics at a cost of less than $1,000. The robot's parts are mainly made using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, plastic material.

Langevin -- who works as a sculptor and model maker for Factices Ateliers -- has so far finished the head, arms, and hands of the robot, which looks like an albino and a slightly more lifelike C3PO from the Star Wars films. He is currently working on its torso, according to his blog.

To program the robot, Langevin used a number of sketch programming languages, including Serialterm, MyRobotLab, and Arduino.

Langevin's blog also includes a forum where people working on building the robot can share tips, ask questions, and generally geek out over the project. It is also a help center for assembly of the robot at home, with a photographic step-by-step guide to building it.

The artist has some fairly ambitious plans for a homemade robot in terms of capabilities, according to the blog. Voice recognition and object detection are among Langevin's goals for his 3D-printed humanoid robot, which in a recent video can be shown already responding with movement to voice commands (watch it below).

In addition to the printer, in order to assemble an InMoov robot, you will need:

  • 12 MG995/HK2598 servos
  • Eight Hitec HS805BB servos
  • 0.8 mm nylon thread (or fishing line)
  • 6V 44A batteries and charger, among others

There seems to be no end to the number of things that can be created using a 3D printer these days. Auto parts, reproductions of old recordings, and even haute couture clothing have now been printed this way, and the list of possibilities for 3D printing keeps growing.

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