Dobot is an affordable robotic arm with industrial precision that can be controlled in seven different ways.
Inspired by robotic arms found throughout the industrial setting, one Bay Area startup is looking to bring that same precision and versatility to the desk of Makers. Dobot is driven by the combination of Arduino and stepper motors, and boasts a sleek aluminum alloy frame.
Designed for just about everyone, the low-cost, four-axis Dobot can follow your commands as it draws, writes, texts, moves and grabs objects. Not only can you select from five different nozzles depending on the task, it can be controlled in a number of ways — a computer mouse, a smartphone app, EEG, voice, gesture, Leap Motion and vision — and can even double as a tabletop 3D printer, capable of printing with both plastic and food-based filaments. Have your hands full? Hate repetitive chores? Now there’s an intuitive robotic arm that can take care of all that for you.
“Can Dobot use a mobile phone to turn off the lights? Can Dobot fetch an apple in a folder by brain control? Of course! We are firm believers in furthering the possibilities of the Dobot robot arm! Now it’s your turn to make your magic of Dobot happen,” its creators explain. “Dobot can help you feed and tickle your pets, play interactive games with friends, and play board games against the robot.”
The arm itself is built around the mighty Arduino Mega (ATmega2560) along with an Arduino shield, and includes a high accuracy speed reducer motor that provides a consistent supply of power. Meanwhile, communication is handled through UART/Bluetooth.
“For software, we have done a great deal of optimization. The software supports speed look-ahead small line blocks interpolation algorithm, able to fit any type of curve and ensure processing efficiency,” the team writes. “Moreover, with the Three Axes Linkage Method fine interpolation, you can control the trajectory of the end effector of the Dobot accurately, empowering it with complex curvilinear motions.”
However, arguably its most notable feature is its incredible precision, which is down to 0.2mm when performing repetitive actions. So when it’s not laser etching, jotting down notes or even transforming words into Chinese calligraphy, Dobot can basically do anything you want it to. What’s more, Dobot will be a welcomed addition to any household or workbench. That’s because its customized stepper motor minimizes the noise associated with movement, making it much quieter than other low-cost servo robotic arms. And thanks to its four axes of motion, it will take up less room.
Keeping the Maker crowd in mind, the team says that they will open source the robotic arm following its crowdfunding campaign. Users will soon be able to write their own commands, upload them to the server and share them with others in the community. Currently live on Kickstarter, Dobot soared past its initial goal of $36,000 and is inching closer to the $500,000 mark. Delivery is expected to begin in December 2015.