Intel CEO brought a robotic companion named Jimmy with him on stage at Code Conference today. Jimmy is a 3D-printed robot capable of walking, talking, moving his arms, dancing and even tweeting, and it’s the key to Intel’s vision of the future of robotics. Starting later this year, the company will make an open source robot kit with 3D-printed parts available to consumers for $1,600, with a research version for $16,000. The former will run on Intel Edison, the company’s computer-on-a-chip, while the latter will be powered by a Core i5 processor.
How is the kit set up? The hardware designs will be available online for anyone to build the basic parts using a 3D printer, but the kit itself will contain all of the other parts which you can’t print: The motor, batteries, processor and wires are the primary items you’ll need to get started.
It’s pretty crazy to think that you may soon be able to get your very own personalized robot for just $100 more than Google Glass. But such a kit is part of Intel’s goal to lower the barrier of entry to robotics, hopefully making it possible for more people to grab a Jimmy of their own without taking out a second mortgage.
Since the robot is open source, this opens the door for users to download whatever they want to customize their new creation, and gives developers the opportunity to build apps for the same purpose. The idea is that you’ll be able to personalize your robot to perform various functions: The sky’s the limit, but possible use cases include grabbing a drink for you, singing along, translating and so on. Eventually, Intel plans to offer an app market to expand the capabilities of your robot.