ORIGIBOT Is an Affordable Telepresence Robot Equipped with a Gripper

Nowadays there is a decent selection of commercially available telepresence robots for most budgets and purposes. While some of them are pretty refined products, most of them have little physical interaction capabilities with their environment. This is where ORIGIBOT comes in – equipped with a moving arm and a gripper this robot promises to be pretty practical, adding unique features to telepresence. It can grasp and carry objects, operate door knobs or light switches, and even perform some chores around the house.

ORIGIBOT Telepresence Robot System

ORIGIBOT System | Photo: Origin Robotics

ORIGIBOT is open source, it’s main control unit is an Arduino compatible MCU, the sturdy aluminum chassis is made of standard T-slot extruded profiles, off-the-shelf hobby servos are used to actuate it, and 3D printed ABS plastic parts are used to link everything together.

Below you can watch the presentation video which is not only informative but pretty fun as well.

The telepresence robot also seems easy to set up and operate, you just need to pair your Android (probabily iOS compatibility will follow) phone or tablet with it via Bluetooth, install the dedicated app and that’s about it. Just log in to it from any web browser or device supporting WebRTC and you’re ready to go. Although the robot seems very user friendly, its creator eng. Richard Laboris advises that it is better suited as a robotics platform for testing and development rather than a finished consumer product.

The system is capable of bidirectional audio and video communications and the web interface offers complete controls for the arm, gripper and platform. The tablet cradle can also be tilted 90 degrees back and forth in order to provide a better look at the environment or at what you want to grab with the robot’s arm.

A few tech specs

The mobile platform has differential drive by means of two DC motors and has good grip on most surfaces thanks to silicon skate wheels. Control electronics and battery are mounted directly onto it for increased stability.

ORIGIBOT Telepresence Robot Actuators

Click to enlarge
ORIGIBOT actuators

The robotic arm has about 1 meter (3.3 feet) reach and is actuated simultaneously by two high-torque servos capable of lifting up to 1kg (2.2lbs). The gripper has a maximum opening of 7.8cm (3inch) and can also rotate, adding up to 3 DOF which are complemented by the 2 DOF given by the mobile platform.

  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 32×35.5x75cm / 12.5x14x29.5inch, 95cm/37.2inch tall with 7″ tablet
  • Construction: Aluminum profile frame with stainless steel and ABS plastic parts
  • Weight: 3.3kg / 7.4lbs
  • Payload: 1kg / 2.2lbs
  • Controller: Arduino-compatible board with Bluetooth and motor drivers
  • Motors and servos: 2 DC motors (base), 2 big high-torque servos (arm shoulder), 2 standard high-torque servos (gripper wrist rotate and open-close), standard servo (tablet cradle tilt)
  • Software: Arduino sketch, Android and iOS app
  • Power: NiMH rechargeable battery capable of up to 8 hours of standby, charger

All .stl files for 3D printing, Arduino sketch and app source are made available upon preordering. Shipping should start in June 2015. For an early bird pledge of US $329 you can get an ORIGIBOT Basic, which includes only the mobile base and upright frame, control electronics, battery and app, while the ORIGIBOT Plus, which also includes the robotic arm and gripper will require a pledge of US $599. To find out more info or to support the project head to the ORIGIBOT campaign page.