WHAT?! You Can Now 3D Print Your Own Robot?!
Categories: Tech

WHAT?! You Can Now 3D Print Your Own Robot?!

Calling all Jetsons and Wall-E lovers: You will soon be able to 3D print your own adorable robotic companion. His name is Jimmy. Hot on the heels of Gaël Langevin’s InMoov, Brian David Johnson, a futurist at Intel, has released files for a 21st century social robot you can 3D print and customize to your liking. Rather than being a task-oriented bot (think Roomba, Droplet or Grillbot), Jimmy is designed to interact with you. Finally, a friend who’ll never get tired of hacking with us.

Being Intel’s on-staff futurist, Johnson’s job is basically to dream up cool new technology. And then to make it happen. (How can we score that gig?) At the moment, about 50% of Jimmy can be 3D printed, and Johnson aims to jump that figure to 100% by the end of the year. Well, except for the really techy parts like motors, circuit boards, etc. But the plastic parts? Have at it.

Johnson’s visions are all based around the robot manifesto: “A robot is: Imagined first. Easy to build. Completely open source. Fiercely social. Intentionally iterative. Filled with humanity and dreams. Thinking for him/her/itself.” Pretty cool. And to temper everyone’s doomsday fears about a robot that can think for itself, Johnson decided Jimmy had to be cute and nonthreatening (i.e., small). He developed his Jimmy through years of writing sci-fi short stories. Cue us nerd-ing our hearts out.

Jimmy will come with apps to hook up to your social media accounts. For example, you can link him to Twitter, tweet a joke and then tell him to laugh at it. Major score for bad joke tellers everywhere.

Jimmy is pretty revolutionary, seeing as you can truly make him yourself, even without robotics knowledge. Johnson believes “the future is for everybody,” which means the robot of the future is accessible and affordable. Once he’s completely 3D printable, the price of building the robot should be under $500. You can already download Jimmy’s book, which includes Johnson’s stories. An upcoming version will include design files.

Access to Jimmy’s design files means everyone will be able to personalize him to their tastes. Johnson specifically wants it to be a tool for people with autism. For example, the robot’s face is left intentionally blank. This allows people with autism to interact with him without needing to decode his facial expressions. Cheap, open source, adorable and inclusive. We’re totally on board with Jimmy.

Ready to print your own robot buddy? Or this all a little too Terminator for you? Let us know below!