Modular Open Source Humanoid AI Robot

All the sections required to make a full size humanoid robot with integrated AI models - an open source response to corporate robots

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We are on the cusp of a very exciting time in non-industrial robotics with the scope to change daily life as profoundly as the internet did.

The convergence of ever cheaper and faster manufacturing techniques, hardware designs, AI software, smart sensors, batteries, etc, etc, etc make the emergence of meaningful domestic robots as inevitable as the driverless car - if a lot less dangerous!

Here I present the latest results of over two decades of R&D in humanoid robotics with the aim of enabling interested builders to produce systems capable of performing genuinely useful tasks.

The design is highly modular to allow the rapid develpment of simpler robots with say a single arm with customised gripper all the way up to a complete humanoid with hands and a realistic face.

1. 20/09/2021 - A beginning

We are on the cusp of a very exciting time in robotics.

A step change in the capabilities of complex robots enabled by the convergence of the many diverse technologies required to produce embodied, intelligent behaviour in unstructured, dynamic environments.

Some like 3d printing are relatively mature, others like AL and ML techniques applied to physics based simulations are only just emerging from labs and PhD theses.

Still others are becoming smart products with advance vison processing now easily accessible on consumer level devices like the Oak d-lite AI camera

in this project, I present the results of over two decades of research in humanoid robotics and offer the possibility that an engaged open source community can deliver a working humanoid robot faster than Tesla :-)

This robot differs from the Teslabot in three main ways:

1. It is real - every part has already been physically prototyped, so whilst it is also a never ending work in progress, working plans are available immediately for those that wish to build their own.
2. It is open source - robots that can truly enter our daily lives shouldn't be entrusted to corporations, see every robot apocalypse movie ever.
3. It has wheels at the end of its legs - because this is just sensible design for human centric environments.

Like Tesla, we work closely with Nvidia for the development of the AI and other control software but how it will be applied will be up to the builders.

Non-industrial robotics have always been hampered by the explosion in the difficulty of control that arises from adding just a few more degrees of freedom (DOF) or operating in an unstructured environment (industrial robots avoid this by keeping their designs, environments and tasks relatively simple with largely fixed base designs).

Thus a crucial part of this project is the development of a toolchain that spans the design, manufacture, simulation and resulting control system that can be put back in the real world on to a real robot.

All the software used is open source and free, primarily using Onshape for mechanical design, CURA or similar for 3d printing and nvidia omniverse for simulation and control.

Of course real hardware still costs real money for computers, gearmotors, sensors, batteries, 3d printers and material, etc so the robot is made of independent modular parts.

Whilst the humanoid form is arguably the best adapted to work within human centric environments a full humanoid is excessive for the majority of tasks that non-industrial robots will be able to perform in the near future.

There are still advantages though to have the robots tackle tasks in the same way as a human. For example, to facilitate the generation of essential training data and to give an intuitive understanding of how safely and efficiently the robot is performing.

With a modular design it is relatively straight-forward to create a robot that can perform a task like a human only where needed greatly increasing the cost-effectiveness.

Even so, the industrial servo drives used in the arms and base of this robot are not cheap and it is anticipated that sufficient interest to justify a crowd-sourced volume order of motors of 1000 pieces for 250 arms, will be a necessary step towards producing a meaningful number of robots in the real world.

The advantge of a fully simulated robot is that it is possible to experiment with and train a variety of robot solutions before incurring the cost of building a real system. Making this available in the Nvidia Omniverse and Isaac robot simulators is one of our next major milestones.

Progress to date:

The most finished part so far, is the hand which has been developed as a "hello world" project called the robotnanohand:

This version of the hand uses an Nvidia Jetson Nano computer to perform AI visual recognition "at the edge". It is built with standard rc servos that cost only 5 bucks each making it an economical way to get started....

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jamma wrote 12/07/2021 at 00:42 point

Saw this video and thought of this project:

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therobotstudio wrote 12/07/2021 at 09:26 point

Yes, that's a lovely bit of work. They are recruiting for engineers with experience of transitioning products from prototype to mass production so should be interesting to see how things go in the next little while. Zurich based start-up of 75 people, they're a good bunch.

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Carson James Cannon wrote 09/20/2021 at 14:28 point

I like it it's a better idea than robot's that can only use tools designed robot's we need more that can be interchangeable with human workers and use most of the same tools. I want something like this for remote control. I have no remote work options and have missed work due to exposure and being involuntarily quarantined until providing negative test results. I miss the simple days of calling in when feeling slightly under the weather on a Friday now I can't say anything without being asked to quarantine and test it's kinda stressful. At least I can take mental health days...

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dearuserhron wrote 09/14/2021 at 21:20 point

Woow, it is real.

I do not like humanoid robots as a whole idea. There are already a lot of humans out there, so why need to build another one from aluminum and wires?

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