Intel seems to be branching out. A new open source humanoid robot called Jimmy has Intel inside.
How much of this robot is actually down to Intel is open for debate. It is described as:
"the brainchild of Intel’s Futurist Brian David Johnson and is the result of the collaboration of developers from USC, Olin College, and Trossen Robotics."
It will be sold by Trossen Robotics and how much involvement Intel will have is difficult to work out. It is the first product of the 21st Century Robot project, which aims to make robots as common as smartphones so that we can all work on making them do what we want/need.
Jimmy has a full Intel-based PC inside. The consumer version has a Intel Edison system on a chip and the full research version has an i5 processor. It has all of the connectivity you would expect from a full PC, i.e. WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI and Xbee, and a lot of sensors - gyro, accelerometer, camera and microphone. Its LiPo battery can allow it to run in autonomous mode for up to 45 minutes.
The idea is that you can plug in a keyboard and screen and work directly with the robot if you need to because it has a full PC. The software is also open source and is based on Ubuntu or Yocto Linux and Darwin-OP software. A Rest interface allows the robot to be used with ROS or Intel XDK.
Take a look at the video but notice that this is the research version on display with a price tag of $16,000. The consumer version should be availalbe later this year at a cost of $1600, but presumably a much lower spec.
Jimmy is clearly a fast mover but perhaps not quite as good as the video suggests. A more realistic view is given by the following video:
Still good but not quite as impressive and the $16,000 price is a high compared to a Nao H25 (with 25 degrees of freedom compared to Jimmy's 20) at just less than $8,000. It is claimed that the top walking speed is 30cm/s. All of the parts, plans and software have been open sourced so you can build your own or modify the entire robot.
What happens next depends a lot on the quality of the $1600 version of the robot and the truth of Intel's prediction of a $1000 robot being available very soon.
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