As if it were news, 3D printing continues to revolutionize the maker world by providing DIYers with in-home manufacturing capabilities like never before. We’ve already seen plans to print an entire Mobius strip inspired building using a 3D printer, a makeshift prosthetic hand developed halfway across the globe by two avid DIYers, and stem cell researches 3D printing globs of artificial human tissue. What could possibly be next? Gael Langevin will gladly answer that question for us with the sight of his InMoov animatronic robot build.
Langevin, the 41-year-old French sculptor and model-maker, decided to see what all of the hype was about by purchasing a 3D printer early last year. He first began by designing and printing a robotic hand using his new printer - that limb would soon go on to be the first piece of an entire animatronic creation. Using Blender, an open source and cross-platform software used for 3D creation, Langevin designed each individual part of the InMoov to be capable of printing on the cheapest range of 3D printers currently available. A fully actuated robot consisting of two arms, a pair of hands, shoulders, a neck, and a head will run the average DIYer about $900 USD, minus the cost of a 3D printer.
The InMoov is constructed using a total of 22 servo motors, 2 Arduino Uno x2’s for control, some nylon thread, colored ABS filament, various bolts and screws, a 6V 44A battery pack, and most recently, a microphone and camera. The InMoov was originally programmed by Langevin, who essentially learned how to code as he went along building the thing. Its programming controls are now offered over at MyRobotLab, a website that offers open source Java services for robotics and other machine controls.
The project is currently still in development: Langevin, with the help of MyRobotLab, is now working on a vision tracking system to give the InMoov the sense of sight. A recent video shows us its voice-command capabilities, which are still very much a work in progress. Langevin also recently posted that he has begun working on the InMoov’s first leg, which he is very excited about.
If you have a 3D printer, the money, and the time to invest on building yourself an animatronic robot, head over to the InMoov blog for a list of parts and build instructions. According to Langevin it’s about as easy as assembling a piece of furniture from IKEA, so why not give it a shot?
The InMoov is sure to be the first of many projects like it as 3D printing is makes its way into more and more homes around the world. Open-source projects such as truly show the extraordinary feats we are capable of achieving through online synergy. As Langevin puts it himself, “...this robot shows you can build anything you like."