Much has been said about the 21st Century Robot Project by Intel futurist David Johnson. It is an open source, Intel powered, humanoid looking, externally 3D printed robot called Jimmy (according to the 21st Century Robot Manifesto, every robot should have a name). Jimmy has been developed in collaboration with USC, Olin College and Trossen Robotics. Michael gave one of the most accurate descriptions of it when Johnson presented its final development stage at the Inside 3D Printing event in New York, last April 7th.
Now the very first version of Jimmy is complete and can be ordered through Trossen Robotic’s website for $16,000. Keep in mind that this is the first version of a Research system: future iterations could cost as little $1,500, thanks to 3D printing and open sourcing, with the final target set at $500.
Price is only a part of the issue as Jimmy is intended to be a new kind of android, one that will come powered by advanced capabilities and will allow the open source software and robotics communities to collaborate to give it more functions.
The Trossen Robotics video below shows how Jimmy is capable of faster, more complex and more precise movements than other humanoids. It will have greater voice and speech recognition capabilities than any mobile android before it, thanks to its Intel brain and its Lynux OS (it could run a full Ubuntu OS). The robot will also cater to the developers’ needs by integrating better connectivity via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and by connecting to a monitor through an HDMI port.
The current research version of Jimmy stands 65 cm tall and weighs 6.5 Kg. It can walk at over a foot per second (which is a lot for any humanoid) thanks to its parametric walking engine which gives it stability by effectively making it (him!?) bounce as he walks.
The purchasing cost is for the basic assembled robot but all Jimmy’s parts are open source and can be replaced or modified by developers. It has an internal frame for custom aluminium brackets and all the 3D models for those brackets are available to download. The same goes for the entire frame and even the external shell, which is 3D printed in nylon and can thus be modified pretty much at will.
The goal is to create a very extensible API that could be highly accessible to developers so that they can spend less time building the robot and more time working on giving it “life”, intended as the ability to interact with humans and develop a personality. For robot enthusiasts Jimmy could be the reason to go out and buy a 3D printer. For 3D printing enthusiasts It might even one day replace drones as a favourite 3D printing app.
The current price is still very steep but Jimmy is the first of its kind: going from the seed of an idea in David Johnson’s mind to this first version in a little over 10 years. Now that it’s finally out there it is likely that the speed of its development will go at the same rate as the drop in its price.