DIY: print your own android with these 3D printing instructions

I love stories about people who chase obsessions, and this is certainly one of them: Gael Langevin is a French sculptor without any previous robotics experience who spent the last year developing and coding a voice controlled, 3D printed android. He made the project open source, so that DIY’ers worldwide can print the Android themselves and adapt them.

Langevin didn’t have any previous robotics experience, he said in an interview. He started the project after being asked to produce a “modern looking prosthetic hand” for a photoshoot. Since he had just bought a 3D printer, he wanted to see how realistic he could make the hand with his new gadget:

The shoot never happened, but Langevin was hooked. He added some servos and an Arduino to make the hand programmable. When he posted it on Thingiverse, the response was so encouraging that he ended up building an entire torso, and an android face that’s reminiscent of the film adaptation of the Isaac Asimov story I, Robot.

To pull it all off, he had to teach himself how to code in Myrobotlab, an open source software used to program robotic devices. “I was always impressed with animatronics, but at the same time I was intimidated by the electronics,” he told therealityinstitute.  He did get some help from an admin at the Myrobotlab forum, he admits on his blog.

To make it all a bit more challenging, Langevin also added voice control, which you can see here (it works very well too, it seems):

Don’t be surprised if you see the InMoov robots everywhere. Langevin said there are at least 20 people worldwide printing and building InMoov robots:

I know one in China; he has made the InMoov controlled with a [Nintendo] Power Glove.  I also know a guy in Denmark (who built an orange hand).  One in Russia; he didn’t bother posting a picture on Thingiverse.  A few in Spain, Italy, Canada, Australia, Holland, Greece, Mexico, Poland, France, and most are in the US. But I can’t really keep track. They, from time to time, reach me for some questions and then I find out how far they’ve gone. (source)

And they’re all finding their own uses for it, Langevin says: one wants to build a prosthetic hand for his father who lost a hand, a Russian wants to trigger weapons with the android. A French tinkerer would prefer the InMoov to serve him drinks.

Printing the bot would cost around $ 900, not counting the cost of the 3D printer itself.

Via InMoov via Gizmag and TheRealityInstitute

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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