This is my first public project ever, and the first robot I am building from A to Z.
Unlike so many other robots on this website, Tobi-P is not extremely complicated, technically speaking. There is no novel algorithm or some crazy optimization going on here. But it does look different, and is working great for its intended purpose (not to mention that using Blender as a CAD software is just a gigantic hack in itself).
And this is why Tobi-P fits so well into this year's challenge "Redefine Robots". I have literally had to redefine what for a robot it was going to be.
To give a bit of background, this project actually started over 5 years ago.
It was initially supposed to be yet another cheap robotic platform for experimentation, without real purpose or added value. The prototype would have gone through several more iterations, getting rotary encoders, then maybe a LiDAR, and so forth. It then stalled for years, before the COVID-19 crisis came in, and with it the first lock-down.
This is where the focus changed. Suddenly with much more time to spend at home, the project gained momentum again. But it was not anymore about learning some tech stuff (not only at least). It had to become something more. Something tangible would be really helpful in this particular context. Something that one can relate to, maybe almost like a pet substitute?
"It must be cute!" I was also told. And so the journey to design a friendly companion had begun, with a new emphasis on aesthetics.