Animal-like, four-legged robots have been a crowd-pleaser since Boston Dynamics’ BigDog, and Stanford’s Doggo shows how the technology can be made open source, accessible and educational. Doggo’s creators will bring the diminutive robot, plus its smaller and larger siblings Pupper and Woofer, to TC Sessions: Robotics + AI on March 3.
We first heard of Doggo last year when the Stanford Robotics Club showed off the highly capable design, which uses mostly off-the-shelf parts and can be assembled by anyone… as long as “anyone” has considerable experience building robots and a couple thousand dollars to spend.
Still, a couple thousand is an order of magnitude or two lower than most quadrupedal robots go for, and project lead Nathan Kau told TechCrunch they’ve seen a ton of interest.
“I had no idea how many people were going to pick it up,” he said. “It’s complicated! But I get emails every day from people building this thing, from all over. The first team to get it running, to my knowledge, was in Sri Lanka.”
In order to further push the lower bounds of who can build and experiment with a robot like this, the team is building a smaller, even less expensive robot called Pupper. They hope to get the cost down to the level where even high school clubs can afford one.
“It’s less than $500 in development materials if you make it by yourself,” said Kau. “We imagine that if it becomes a kit and we have a partnership with the part manufacturers, it could be much less. We built it as a platform for learning, so it uses a Raspberry Pi and everything is programmed in Python. It’s about as complicated as building a drone, I’d say.”
You’ll be able to see Doggo and Pupper in action at the event, and they’ll be joined by one more robot: Woofer, a jumbo-sized step up from the others. It’s earlier in development than the other two, but to keep things simple it shares much of its codebase with the others.
Grab your tickets to the show today and get to see these awesome robots in person and hear from today’s leading minds in the industry.
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