Humanoid robot challenge seeks fresh robot designs

GrabCAD, a platform that helps engineers collaborate and quickly share CAD files, recently partnered with RoboSavvy, which hosts an online community for humanoid robot builders, to launch a new humanoid robot design challenge.

It’s not exactly DARPA Robotics Challenge in terms of scope — these robots aren’t meant to revolutionize the future of search and rescue operations, instead they’re intended for entertainment and education. The prize also isn’t quite a DARPA-like $2,000,000, but the winner will be awarded a custom-built robot in accordance with the winning design valued at $4,000 in parts and labor. The deadline for submissions is Sept. 22.

The goal is to keep the cost of materials low (around $1,000) while creating an open-source robot that can stand up to rival platforms. The contest includes a number of design guidelines, including that actuation should be based on Robotis AX12 and AX18 servos, and the structure of the robot’s skeleton should be made with 1.5 mm aluminum sheet, as in the Bioloid GP (also from Robotis) pictured above.

Robosavvy Humanoid Design Challenge“Comparable education and research humanoid robots cost over $10,000 due to their plastic molded shell parts, expensive actuators and closed-source business approach,” the contest overview states. “We want this to be an open-source robot that will outperform its rival platforms while keeping the cost of materials to about $1,000. We will achieve this by utilizing materials and fabrication methods available to anyone. Materials include aluminum sheet and 3D printed parts for structure, vacuum formed polycarb exterior shell, servos for actuation and low cost electronics including Raspberry Pi for brains.”

With 780,000 members, Cambridge, Mass.-based GrabCAD has a large number of mechanical engineers to draw from, while UK-based RoboSavvy caters to an active community of robot enthusiasts. The contest is open to anyone, however. Winners will be selected by a panel from RoboSavvy and GrabCAD, who will release a list of finalists before the final selection and take outside comments into consideration.

For complete contest rules or to submit an entry, click here: RoboSavvy Humanoid Design Challenge

[ photo courtesy of Robotis / artwork courtesy of GrabCAD ]