Smartphone Controlled 3D Printable Robot

Open Source Robot: Control Rapiro with Your Ubuntu Smartphone

Open Source Robot
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Rapiro is an open source robot you can customize, expand, program and 3d print (or simply buy it from Amazon). You even can control it with your Ubuntu smartphone. 

Rapiro is a humanoid robot DIY kit created by Shota Ishiwatari. It works with open source software and hardware, making it fully programmable, customizable and controllable through many devices, including Ubuntu smartphones. The robot can be 3D printed in thirty parts, and then assembled into a fully functional product.

Your Own Personal Robot

rapiro 3
The Rapiro DIY kit includes 30 parts (image:

Rapiro uses an Arduino controller to manage the twelve servomotors included in the kit, and can also work with a Raspberry Pi single board computer for the expansion of its capabilities. Like any modern, maker product, it was introduced to the world through a successful Kickstarter campaign.

Now it can be purchased – in its final pre-assembled version – from many of the top eCommerce portals in the US, Europe and Asia, including AmazonSeeed and several specialized Raspberry Pi retailers.

From Kickstarter to the Mass Market

You can download the 3D printable parts from Thingiverse (image: Thingiverse)

So, we’ve seen 3D printed “robots” before, and we’ve seen customizable “toys” as well. What makes Rapiro unique is the fact that it combines everything makers appreciate and care about. First of all, Rapiro uses open source hardware (Arduino board, Raspberry Pi) and software (Arduino IDE, Linux). Also, the Rapiro can now be controlled via a Ubuntu smartphone.

Secondly, you can either order Rapiro via Amazon and have it delivered as a ready-made product. That will cost you about $500.

Alternatively, you can download the printable parts from Thingiverse and CGTrader, as well as the schematics of the robot, and print it on your own!

New Possibilities

Control the open source robot Rapiro by using a Ubuntu phone (image: Rapiro)
Control the open source robot Rapiro by using a Ubuntu phone (image: Rapiro)

This opens ups a whole set of customization possibilities, something that isn’t possible in traditionally manufactured products. Then it is expandable, but not like “expansion” is usually meant (pay more to get more). All you need to do in order to expand Rapiro is to add a Raspberry Pi in its head (there’s a special slot for it there) and program it to do what you want. Rapiro can take advantage of Raspberry’s add-on sensors to accomplish a wide range of tasks. Even make you coffee! Check him out the video below.

Finally, Rapiro is much less expensive, as its price was set at approximately one forth of other humanoid robot kits and almost one tenth of other Linux-powered robots. Even if you don’t know anything about programming and you don’t own a Raspberry Pi, Rapiro can still make himself useful to you. Its Arduino Controller comes with many pre-built functions that you can freely reprogram at any time. Add the fact that the assembly procedure is a walk in the park and doesn’t need any tools other than a screwdriver, and there you have a cheap and easy to use robot.

But What Can It Really Do?

Robot! Make Coffee! (image: Rapiro)
Robot! Make Coffee! (image: Rapiro)

The question with robots is always “what can you do with it?” In this case, this question can’t be answered directly as the community continuously finds new ways to use Rapiro. Here are some examples:

  • You could use WiFi to allow Rapiro to notify you when new messages from social networks arrive.
  • You can install a camera on the Raspberry Pi and put the robot in charge of home security.
  • Another option is to interact with it by using a microphone to speak to it and have it speak back to you.
  • Raspberry Pi’s can also work with IR LEDs so Rapiro could control your TV or air condition unit as well.
  • Most importantly, though, robots like Rapiro are used to learn (and teach) how robots work.

Some of the most exciting things that are already done by members of the Rapiro community are the Wiimote connectivity, control through an iOS device, control via an Ubuntu smartphone, and the facial recognition with the help of openCV.

Rapiro is the first ever device that is open to anything. So the only limits are your skills and imagination. Even if you don’t have any, still you can dig in the countless detailed guides that describe step by step how to make the most out of your Rapiro.