By Bridget Butler Millsaps | 3D Print
He sees. He listens. He understands. With a Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise $10K, and halfway through its launch, the XLR-ONE Personal Robot Companionis gaining ground toward fruition steadily — with good reason. How many kids can say they had a robot help them with their homework last night? Antonios Ameralis, CEO of XL Robotics, wants to see that become the norm — along with kids learning to assemble the bots themselves.
3D printing gives us the independence and access to make things for ourselves without waiting on a manufacturer or retailer. The XLR-ONE presents the wave of the real future, in a new 3D printed product that gives us what we’ve been dreaming of for years, as well as the opportunity to 3D print it, customize it, and the real kicker: control it from the smartphone via mobile app.
The XLR-ONE has my attention, and here’s why. He makes your life easier, with little maintenance — and no drama. The family-friendly droid offers you full control for performance of routines and tasks. Completely 3D printed, he is programmed to help you with your kids’ homework while you are busy cooking dinner and multi-tasking. He is skilled at entertaining at birthday parties as a full-time DJ while you are relaxing and singing along to Pitbull. Yes, Pitbull.
“My mother-in-law owns a banquet hall, and we brought it to a birthday party,” Ameralis says. “We had all the music programmed and run through Wi-Fi. With the facial recognition and a QR code, the robot was able to recognize the birthday boy and was able to follow him around, take requests, and name and play songs.”
nd speaking of pit bulls, you won’t need to worry about owning a dog, as XLR-ONE will handle home protection for you — and bring you the newspaper.
Not just a toy, the XLR-ONE is meant to entertain and take some of the heat off of you during the day. He’ll even make you smile while you’re in the mid-afternoon slump after lunch with conversation, music, and dancing — and he’s seriously into it. Not only that, this is a great 3D printing project to take on at a reasonable price — and it continues to give educationally on a daily basis.
“By utilizing the on board camera, I created a Math Quiz script using QR coded flash cards. My son holds up the random QR flash cards and the XLR-ONE scans and reads the equation to him,” says Ameralis. “My son responds by speaking the answer to the robot, which then determines if the answer is right or wrong, and responds accordingly. The possibilities are almost endless.”
For only $499 with a pledge to Antonios Ameralis’ Kickstarter campaign it’s pretty cool to think you could add this droid to your home by May. While $499 is the Kickstarter price for the ‘basic’ kit and does not include battery, servos, or controller, the second- and third-tier packages include a kit that is ready to assemble and ‘go’ right out of the box. With Kickstarter Funds, Ameralis will purchase more 3D printing equipment and materials — right now he has two MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers running ’round the clock to fulfill demand — and handle shipping and handling and production costs, as well as setting future software upgrades into motion — which will be free to Kickstarter supporters.
“The XLR-ONE is a three-phase product. You can buy it as a kit to assemble yourself or as another kit that offers more customization,” Ameralis says, “or as a prebuilt robot.”
Not only is the XLR-ONE available to be your assistant, he is aesthetically pleasing as well, classic and simple in all white. With a fully-enclosed backpack housing the EZ-Robot controller and making room for battery expansion, electronics are hidden in the clean design, so you aren’t busy tucking in wires or looking at any unsightly home-made looking bot.
You may just be hearing about this invention, by Ameralis, a Kendall, FL resident, but get ready to start seeing it around town and in homes as the Kickstarter support continues to roll in, and it sinks in that this robot is real — and really affordable. With thousands of hours devoted to testing, the design is touted by Ameralis as ‘sleek and strong’ and boasts an authentic sci-fi look. What’s truly important is the quality of its performance with pre-sets and customizations abounding for routines, tasks, or just fun.
“The difference between this and other products, first, is the price point. It’s way below a lot of others on the market. A lot are two to three thousand [dollars] and don’t do half of what this robot does,” he says. “It’s also larger scale at 30 inches tall, with a unique design. It doesn’t have wires hanging out. A lot of others have their backs exposed. They look like an unfinished school project. Mine are designed to be visually pleasing and fully functionally. It can run around your house without wires coming out everywhere.”
Controlled with the mobile app ‘right out of the box,’ the XLR-ONE features:
A drive train with four powerful HD continuous high torque robot servosSight, controlled by EZ-Robot wifi camera, powered directly by the EZ-B v4 WiFi Robot ControllerRobot arms with full range of motionClaws, which grab and holdComprehensive head, wrist, elbow, and shoulder motionPotential for full expansion with EZ-Builder interfaceYou can also control the droid with your computer and with voice commands that he is programmed to understand. It’s definitely a great way to get the whole family revved up about science, and introduces kids not only to the mechanics of 3D printing and customization, but the world of robotics. Ameralis sees this business expanding as he intends to put the robot to work at parties, and sees continued growth in the future for XL Robotics as a whole.
“This started as a hobby and has turned into a startup,” says Ameralis.
Ameralis has plans to extend his enthusiasm and knowledge to his south Florida brethren with a makers’ community and also wants to use the bot as a way to reach out to students for an introduction to science, technology, and robotics — not to mention what you can do with 3D printing — which is the total driving force behind the XLR-ONE.
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