Last week, I had the good fortune of meeting Jason Ravel, a new robotic entrepreneur out of Columbia University. He is focused on helping solve real problems for physically challenged humans in an aging world. I am sworn to secrecy, but let’s just say Wall-E and Evo maybe closer than one may think.
Jason, a software guru, has already turned the robot world on his head by creating the first sous-chef robot within a Restaurant Impossible budget. Working with his friends in the ivy halls of 116th Street, Jason constructed Talos a cardboard looking helpful kitchen-mate. Viking or Subzero aesthetic its not, but did we mention that Talos costs around $800 for a fully mobile programable robot, complete with computer vision and path planning.
The ingredient list includes:
• Microsoft Kinect sensor ($110)
• OWI robotic arms x 2 ($90)
• iRobot Create ($130)
• Cement holding tube ($20)
• Wooden pieces ($50)
• USB hub ($10)
• Speakers ($10)
• Macbook, used ($380)
“It’s the first low-cost robotic platform of its kind. We learned that we could engineer a fully functional humanoid robot capable of multiple tasks in the home for cheap, something that had never been done before,” writes Jason Ravel, the project leader.
Ravel could be the beginning of a new wave of robotic entrepreneurs that bring software/web economics to the hardware world to dramatically reduce costs with open source participation.