June 25, 2013 report
RAPIRO wants to spread joy of robots with Raspberry Pi
(Phys.org) —The Raspberry Pi is a computing milestone as a very low-priced computing device running Linux; now a Japanese inventor wants to rev up another kind of breakthrough, with an affordable robot kit that can work with the Raspberry Pi and its camera module. Say hello to RAPIRO, as its makers say, "the robot you always wanted as a kid," and, as its makers ask, pledge some money for it too, because it is a Kickstarter campaign.
The makers want to raise funds to get it off and running in full production mode. RAPIRO is billed as an affordable and easy to assemble humanoid robot kit. This comes with 12 servo motors and an Arduino-compatible servo control board. RAPIRO was designed to mount with the Raspberry Pi and camera module in the head. Taking its selling points one by one, the question is, how affordable? The makers claim the kit is 1/10th the price of current Linux-powered humanoid robot kits.
Next, the RAPIRO robot is billed as cute. How cute? Its 12 servo motors are for the neck, waist, feet, and arms. RAPIRO can grip a pen, and can turn its head and waist. Then there are RAPIRO's LED eyes, lit brightly by RGB LEDs. Next, the claim is that it is easy to put together. How easy? Assembling RAPIRO just takes a screwdriver. No soldering is involved.
The developer behind RAPIRO is Shota Ishiwatari of Kiluck Corp. in collaboration with three other small companies in Japan. Ishiwatari designed RAPIRO with 3-D CAD, built circuits, and wrote the code. Now he and colleagues are in promotion mode. They want to start a robot revolution, in the spirit of Raspberry Pi, where the robots can not only be enjoyed as cute but also eventually customizable and programmable.
"If we are successful in our Kickstarter, we will publish 3-D data (.stl) on our website, allowing you to customize the RAPIRO with a 3D printer," according to the campaign page.
Kits available on Kickstarter do not come with a Raspberry Pi and camera module.
As for progress, the campaign has taken in more donations than its original £20,000 goal. The initial offer of a full kit at £199 was already snapped up. The offer was for a full kit with estimated delivery date of December; prices after that start at £229, up to £5,000 for a custom-designed RAPIRO, where the shape would be 3-D printed especially for the pledger. At the time of this writing, the campaign has taken in £31,002 with 178 backers.
© 2013 Phys.org