The past few years have been good for our robotic humanoid counterparts, and while there won’t be a robo-revolution anytime soon, things do seem to be advancing quite nicely. With that said, if you would like to start fabricating and programming your own robotic doomsday minion, the DARwIn-OP will soon be available to handle your evil bidding.
The robot, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, is developed by RoMeLa at Virginia Tech in a joint effort with University of Pennsylvania, Purdue University, and Robotis Co. It is based off the award-wining DARwIn robots that have been in development since 2004.
A completely open platform, including hardware and software, gives programmers complete freedom when designing their future human eradicator. The DARwIn-OP is equipped with an Intel Atom z530 processor, 1GB of RAM, 2 USB ports, and a 4GB miniSD card for more storage. The robot can run Linux, Windows XP, and Windows 7. It stands at almost 18” tall, weighs about 6 lbs and features all the joints and range of movement you’d expect.
If you have the proper tools and time to build your own DARwIn-OP, CAD files showing a complete hardware breakdown and instructions for fabrication will be available for free online. If not, rumor says complete robots will be available for purchase, but a wallet wrenching price of $8,000 seems a little out of reach for most folks! Hey, no one ever said building a robot army would be cheap, and according to PlasticPals.com $8,000 is half the price of DARwIn-OP’s closest competitor, the Aldebaran Robotics NAO.
The DARwIn-OP will be officially unveiled at the 2010 IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots. The event takes place December 6-8th in Nashville, Tennessee and hopefully we’ll get some more solid information on the little guy at that time. Until then, we’ll just have to sit and think about what we’re going to teach this mini Terminator to do.