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Virginia Tech’s RoMeLa unveiled a cute new robot at RoboCup 2010 in Singapore.  It’s called DARwIn-LC (Low Cost) and was featured on a poster near the Robotis Bioloid booth with the headline “Open Platform Humanoid Robot”.  It sports 20 degrees of freedom actuated by Robotis AX-18F (18kg/cm torque) servos.  Thanks to an NSF grant, the robot will be manufactured along with its sibling, DARwIn-HP (High Performance), to be distributed to 11 of Virginia Tech’s partner universities, and may even be available through Robotis itself.  This is pretty exciting to see, and the following video shows it’s no slouch when it comes to standard humanoid behaviors.

Video (Mirror):

I think they really nailed the design of this one.  It has a cute face reminiscent of SONY’s ill-fated QRIO, and a cool exoskeleton that gives its body some personality.  Depending on the price, this could become a very popular platform indeed.  A few more photos of it follow after the break.

[source: I, Bioloid]

Update June 30th 2010: Dr. Dennis Hong (RoMeLa) has informed me that the guesstimate price point I had listed was incorrect (probably too low), so I will update when we know the actual price (he wouldn’t elaborate on the final price).  However, he did say that RoMeLa may be able to upload the CAD drawings, fabrication, and assembly manuals, as well as the basic software, online for free.  If they are able to work this out with Robotis, which is handling the business side of the partnership, then anyone with the means should be able to fabricate the robot’s plastic parts using 3D printers.  This will save universities (and perhaps some individuals) some cash that are interested in building a team of them for research and competition.

We want to form a community of DARwIn-LC users to share new ideas for improvement, hack it, etc. and use the robot for research, education, outreach, and of course, an easy entry point for the RoboCup humanoid division.


Image credit:
Tan Junming Clarence