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RAPIRO: The affordable robot kit for your Raspberry Pi

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June 21, 2013

At US$354, RAPIRO is a fraction the cost of other hobby robot kits

At US$354, RAPIRO is a fraction the cost of other hobby robot kits

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Have you been reading Gizmag's robot articles and ever thought you'd like to get your hands dirty with a robot of your own? Well, there's a Kickstarter for that. Shota Ishiwatari has just launched RAPIRO, his custom designed Raspberry Pi Robot. The robot is easy to assemble, and comes with RGB LEDs, 12 servos, and an Arduino-compatible servo control board. And the best part is it will only set you back £229 (US$354).

Shota isn't new to robotics. His fledgling company, Kiluck Corp., created a robot mascot for a Japanese television channel, and helped design those crazy robot cat ears we covered last year. Now he wants to bring the fun of robotics to as many people as he can with RAPIRO.

He designed the robot in CAD, and worked with JMC (a 3D printing bureau) to fabricate the prototype. Each of its 12 joints are powered by a small, inexpensive servo. They keep the cost down to a fraction of other hobby robots, but don't expect amazing performance out of them. That said, the robot can move its head, arms, open and close its gripper hands, and waddle around.

Its exoskeleton will be made from high quality injection molded parts, but if you want to change something about the robot you'll be able to. The robot's CAD file will be provided on the company's website so you can tinker with it to design and 3D print your own parts.

Assembling RAPIRO doesn't require any soldering or expert know-how
Assembling RAPIRO doesn't require any soldering or expert know-how

Of course, RAPIRO is designed to work with the Raspberry Pi and its camera module, but these aren't included with the kit. The Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer that runs Linux, and can be connected to a PC display, speakers, and USB devices like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Possible applications include Facebook or Twitter notifications, or game controller support.

The robot can also be outfitted with a PSD distance sensor and speakers, which must be purchased separately. The PSD sensor (which commonly runs at about $15) fits into a slot on the robot's chest and is pointed toward the ground. The distance data it provides could be used to stop the robot from falling off a ledge. These are just some of the potential uses for the robot, and hopefully the RAPIRO community will share more ideas.

Considering humanoid robot kits begin at about twice the asking price of the RAPIRO, it seems like a pretty good deal. Just be prepared to learn to do some of the programming work on your own!

You can watch the Kickstarter campaign video below, or head to Shota's YouTube channel to check out other videos. You can also follow its development on Facebook.

Sources: RAPIRO, Kickstarter

About the Author
Jason Falconer Jason is a freelance writer based in central Canada with a background in computer graphics. He has written about hundreds of humanoid robots on his website Plastic Pals and is an avid gamer with an unsightly collection of retro consoles, cartridges, and controllers.   All articles by Jason Falconer
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3 Comments

When you talk about 'affordable' and 'Raspberry Pi" in the same article title, 350 dollars is WAY outside of affordable and 10x the cost of the pi itself. I'm always looking for things to do with my raspberry pi but a criteria i use is either saving money (or time) or costing almost nothing.

johnweythek
24th June, 2013 @ 10:11 am PDT

Kickstarter is restricted to funding US and UK companies only, as far as I know. These guys are Tokyo based from the looks of it. So how did they pull off even starting a campaign and how did you miss this in your coverage, if so?

solutions4circuits
24th June, 2013 @ 02:54 pm PDT

@johnweythek I appreciate the comment, but as far as humanoid robots go this *is* significantly cheaper than other kits

@solutions4circuits As you can see on the Kickstarter page, Kiluck has a UK "branch" which explains how they managed to get the campaign up and running

Jason Falconer
2nd July, 2013 @ 02:34 pm PDT
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