Inria Bordeaux and Ensta ParisTech are developing a very interesting robot called Poppy. It was born as a research project on biped locomotion and interaction between robots and us humans, then it became something much more complex: a fully funtional humanoid robot, completely hackable because its components (source code and hardware design) are available under open source licenses (GPL for software and Creative Commons for hardware).

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Poppy is 80 cm tall and weighs 3,5 kilograms. Its body is modeled on human skeleton, with bended legs and an articulated torso, and made in laser-sintered polyamide to be lightweight and strong at the same time. In its simplest version it's a walking robot with 25 DOFs (degree of freedom) to simulate human body movements in the best possible way. 25 DOFs mean also 25 actuators: they are all Robotis Dynamixel with feedback function, programmable and controlled by an ATMega/ARM microcontroller.

Optionally, Poppy can also integrate 16 force sensors and, to interact with the surrounding environment, two PS Eye and a 4,3" LCD panel with 480 x 272 pixels. Other sensor can be easily implemented via Arduino boards.

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On the software side, Poppy is controlled using a custom Python library called PyPot and specifically developed for Dynamixel-based robots. PyPot it's fully working on Windows 7 systems and works also, with some tweaks, on Linux and OS X platforms.

To be open source doesn't mean being cheap, anyway. Poppy is a real research robot and its hardware costs are estimated in 7.500-8.000 euros, mostly spent on Dynamixel actuators since they cost 200-250 euros each. Assembly time is two days, so we're afraid there's no time to come with your own personal Poppy and join us at Robot & Makers. Maybe next time?

Credit photo: Inria / H. Rague

 

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