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).


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.


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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