SAN FRANCISCO: IT WAS EXACTLY a year ago to the day when Intel announced that open source 3D printed robots are on their way, and said that they will bridge the gap between technology and humanity.
Well, it seems that they have finally arrived. At the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) this year, Intel showed off the final builds of Jimmy, the poster robot of the semiconductor giant's 21st Century Robot initiative to "bring science fact to science fiction".
Intel futurist Brian David Johnson announced that Jimmy robot developer starter kits powered by the new Edison Internet of Things (IoT) chip are in production and they will be shipping by the end of this year.
One experimental version of Jimmy uses an Intel Core i5 processor and costs $16,000. However, a new version, which uses the Edison processor, costs just $1,600.
Intel's somewhat crazy sounding 21st Century Robot project was announced at IDF 2013, aiming to let anyone create robots, and change them and share them in online communities, enabling them to be 3D printed with varying designs.
The starter kit is essentially an endoskeleton made by Trossen Robotics that won't ship with any 3D printed shells, and comprises an Edison board and the standard robotic limbs for functionality such as walking , arm movements and head turning. Different shell designs will be available separately, or developers can choose to 3D print their own. They can also alter the limbs and change the personality of the robot by building additional features on top of existing ones.
The idea of Jimmy, and all subsequent robots that developers decide to build on it, is to be social, to "go off and interact with other people, and with other robots", Johnson said.
Intel teamed with artist Sandy Winkelman to design the robot, and made the robot small enough to be "cute", so he wouldn't be threatening, or be likened to more threatening Hollywood robots like the Terminator. µ
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