Build your own robo-puppy: Researchers unveil tool to create custom bots with 3D printed parts

  A new design tool could soon allow ‘just about anybody’ to build their own custom robotic pets.

  Scientists have developed a drag-and-drop interface that provides users with a library of different parts, and even makes suggestions as to how certain components should be used.

  So far, researchers have used it to create all kinds of machines, from a wheeled robot with a knack for drawing to a four-legged puppy-bot, and they say it can be mastered by experts and novices alike.

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+3Scientists have developed a drag-and-drop interface that provides users with a library of different parts. So far, researchers have used it to create all kinds of machines, from a wheeled robot with a knack for drawing to a four-legged puppy-bot

  The new system developed by researchers with Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute also provides a simulation environment so users can test the robot before bringing it to life.

  The tool aims make the process of building robots far more user-friendly, even to those who don’t already have the expertise, the researchers explain.

  ‘The process of creating new robotic systems today is notoriously challenging, time-consuming, and resource-intensive,’ says Stelian Coros, assistant professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.

  ‘In the not-so-distant future, however, robots will be part of the fabric of daily life and more people – not just roboticists – will want to customize robots.

  ‘This type of interactive design tool would make this possible for just about anybody.’

  With the interface, users can drag robotic parts, such as a leg or a motor, and place it onto the design.