While an intern at Touchstone 3D, I became involved with a humanoid robotics project hosted by the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers. The ultimate goal of the ENCS Humanoid Robotics Project was to develop a robot that the average person could not distinguish from a real person. Most of the project founders were programmers, so I was brought on as the mechatronics engineer to do the the physical design and fabrication of the first prototype of this humanoid robot. This task meant I was responsible for building a prototype robot that had ability to see, hear, speak, and move his neck and eyes.
KEN was the first generation robot the team worked on. KEN’s capabilities include an articulated neck, 3D printed, realistically articulated eyes with embedded cameras, a speaker, a microphone, compartments for all computers and connectivity devices, and a realistic appearance. He had the ability to detects faces and could learn to recognize the people he met.
When I was brought on to help out with the project, the team was in a time-crunch trying to prepare a first generation robot for a robotics conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. In order to quickly bring the humanoid robot from ideation to fabrication, I relied on the flexible and iterative design process I learned at Touchstone 3D, as well as leveraging their extensive capabilities as a rapid prototyping company.
Iteration 1 Iteration 2 Iteration 3
KEN is currently being shown at various robotics conferences, campus events, and seminars as an educational tool and to draw interest to the project and get people excited about building a second generation robot. KEN is a platform for robotic engineering discovery and development.
KEN at the RoboResearch Seminar 2016