KATIA is a robotic arm that can scan, 3D print, laser cut and even decorate a cake


KATIA brings the functionality of an industrial robotic arm to mainstream consumers. 


Will robots replace humans? This is a question we have speculated for decades, and the World Economic Forum released a report this week predicting the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” in 2020. While the thought of robots taking over can be daunting, one San Francisco-based startup offers a positive near future where robots can work with us.

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Meet KATIA — short for “Kick Ass Trainable Intelligent Arm” — the brainchild, or shall we say brain arm, of Carbon Robotics. Behind this great name is an even greater product. KATIA is a robotic arm that is modular, open source and can be manually trained for those not fluent in code, making it incredibly versatile and easy to use. Co-founders Rosanna Myers and Dan Corkum sought to create a robotics platform designed for the consumer market. Ordinary people can make use of KATIA, no programming skills or roboticist required.

KATIA is hackable, modular and customizable for each use and environment. It was built on an open platform so users can access its API via tools like Arduino and Python. Add-on attachments can be swapped on and off the robotic device, allowing KATIA to be more than a just an arm that can grab and move objects. It can be transformed into a 3D scanner, 3D printer, laser cutter, and even a cake decorator.

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KATIA can be taught new movements if you simply guide the arm as it will replicate the desired motion, or you can draw a path for it to follow in the accompanying app. So if you wanted to decorate a cake, for example, KATIA can squeeze the icing in the design of your choosing.

The Carbon Robotics team recently presented at TechCrunch’s Hardware Battlefield finals back at CES 2016, where Myers said in the presentation, “The problem is that [robotic arms] are expensive. They’re difficult to use, and quite frankly not that safe. And that’s where we come in.”

KATIA can carry up to 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) and moves with sub-millimeter precision. This powerful robotic arm also ensures safety. Enclosed in its carbon fiber frame are sensors that can detect humans and things that come within close range.

Marketed as having the capabilities of an industrial robot at the price of a laptop, KATIA will be selling for $1,999 starting this March. To stay up-to-date, be sure to check out the Carbon Robotics website here.

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