PLEN2 is the adorable brain-child of Natsuo Akazawa. In order to foster his dream of creating better relationships between humans and machines, he created an articulate, programmable, and 3D printable companion with a wide range of applications. The STL files for PLEN2 will be available for free, and the robot can be assembled using only a screwdriver. This little bot has plenty to offer laymen and robotic software developers alike.
According to its creator, PLEN2 is so easy to assemble that children can do it. The little bot can teach kids the value of making things themselves, and they can play with PLEN2 using a variety of control options. For students, the Arduino compatible microcontroller in PLEN2 offers itself to tinkering and reprogramming. And there are plans for a control board to support ROS middleware for the real robotics developers out there. If you want a robot you can control with a smartphone, PLEN2 will be your muse. If you want a robot that responds to varying brainwaves with crude Michael Jackson dance moves, PLEN2 can help you get your groove on.
The PLEN2 project began in February 2014 and now, as a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign, the robot is heading for manufacturing. They hope to start shipping out PLEN2 kits by November 2015. If you want to contribute to the cause or purchase a PLEN kit, check out the campaign. With applications ranging from exploration to rehabilitation, you may be seeing PLEN2 bots marching and hi-fiving each other everywhere this coming winter.