Meet Poppy, the beautiful little 3D printed humanoid robot created by Flowers Lab. Poppy has been designed as a robotic platform for research, art and education. It is a open-source project and its aim is to be as simple, flexible and affordable to the masses as is reasonably practical.

“Poppy was initially made for our research project about understanding biped locomotion, and full-body physical and social interaction in robots and humans.”

Poppy Front ViewPoppy is lightweight at 3.5kg, resulting in lower power-to-motion necessity, but still with enough juice to do a wide range of tasks. Although the robot is light, this does not automatically point to fragility. Poppy is robust enough to cope with falls, and is designed to perform for several hours to allow for longer experiments.

To give Poppy more agility and stability during motion, bio-inspired morphology has been incorporated into the robots design including, bended legs, a multi-articulated trunk and a soft body. This attention to form gives Poppy a distinct human resemblance, with the robots limbs also respecting human proportionality.

Fully assembled Poppy stands at 84cm, and take’s about two days to build. Poppy has, Polyamide material, 3D printed parts, and these parts can be printed with regular 3D printing services. 25 Robotis Dynamixels motors bring Poppy to life, and components for Poppy are all available off-the-shelf, with social-interaction-improvement achievable by adding optional cameras, micros, LCD screen, sensors, PS eyes, IMU and a Raspberry Pi.

Poppy Walking with Human AidSoftware set-up is done through the PyPot library, developed in the Poppy-project to ensure simplicity when setting up a custom robot like Poppy. PyPot has been written in Python and is crossed-platform, working on Linux, Windows and Mac OS.

“PyPot is a library developed in the Poppy-project to make it easy and fast to control custom robots based on dynamixel motors.”

The framework is set up to provide different access levels, from low-level motor commands to high-level primitives, and the software is easy to extend, if you fancy adding new motors, sensors etc. It can also support Arduino boards and Kinect.

As the project is open-source, you can request access to the software and hardware repositories for specifics or, if you want to get involved in the project, a beta version of Poppy is available on request, to buy for approximately £6400. This includes a components list, the 3D printed parts, building instruction and support if needed. £6400 is a lot of money, but compared to similar robots available to buy, it is a lot more achievable.

Poppy Foot SensorsPoppy is still in beta phase with several milestones in progress including, new hands and feet under development, better compatible cameras being sought and a further reduction in the total weight of components.

Poppy will remain at beta stage until enough work by beta testing is done to make it more accessible and easy-to-use.

If nothing else, just watch the video of this remarkable project, it is a joy to watch. Poppy’s childlike characteristics have you almost willing her on as she starts to walk, aided by her surrogate “parent”, and if the thought of £6400 is still too much to tempt you into the beta testing world of Poppy, then you can subscribe to the projects newsletter for now, save up and wait for the fully open release next summer.

Source: Poppy Project