The Raspberry Pi ‘single-board computer’ drew headlines last year for its ability to represent the technology the world takes for granted in its most basic form (designed with the intention of teaching ‘basic computer science’ to children), with many basic concepts able to be built from the product, although a new idea on crowdsourcing website Kickstarter could be one of its most complex for those that do not look further into it.
The chance to create humanoid ‘life’ would be based around a Raspberry Pi ‘servo board’ (for programming and control purposes), complete with the body and 12 ‘servo motors’ for limb movement, while the Pi is fittingly placed in Rapiro’s head as the ‘brains’ of the operation. Rapiro is noted as being able to complete minor tasks for a user, such as ‘managing a calendar’, and ‘making coffee’, although the ability to which it can perform these functions may have to be taken with a pinch of salt.
Rapiro creator Shota Ishiwatari, based in Tokyo (Japan), wrote of his innovation and its potential : “RAPIRO comes with a total of 12 servo motors, one for its neck, one in the waist, four for the two feet, and the final six for its two arms. Rapiro can walk with its feet, can grip a pen, and can turn its head and waist. I believe that Rapiro can be a catalyst between robotics and Raspberry Pi. We want to start a revolution in cute, cool, affordable, customisable, and programmable robots. If we are successful in our Kickstarter, we will publish 3D data (.stl) on our website, allowing you to customise the Rapiro with a 3D printer.”
Designed as an ‘accessible introduction to robotics’, the Rapiro is designed to allow specialists in the area to develop further functions for the robot, but before that dream for Ishiwatari can become reality, he needs to see out the funding phase on Kickstarter through to 19 August, although with more than twice his ¥3m (£20,000, $30,000) goal already reached with 41 days remaining, it will be bigger plans that are the order of the day ahead of release. While it is no ‘Kuratas’, could ‘Rapiro’ become the most likeable robotic concept on the market?
A video previewing the Rapiro can be seen below, an impressive feat despite its lack of speed that will make it a misleading name for anyone who hasn’t worked out its true meaning by now…