Most people with an interest in robotics probably dream of building android-style humanoid robots. But when they dip their toes into the field, they quickly learn the reality that such robots are incredibly complex and expensive. However, everyone needs to start somewhere. If you want to begin that journey, you can follow these instructions to assemble your own talking humanoid robot.
This robot, dubbed “CHAD,” is a humanoid torso with moving arms, face tracking, and some voice assistant capabilities. It can understand certain voice commands, provide spoken responses, and even hold chat bot-style conversations. The arms weren’t designed to lift anything, but they are capable of movement similar to human arms up to the wrists and that gives CHAD the ability to gesture. It can also move its head to follow a face that it sees.
CHAD achieves that on a remarkably small budget of just ?5000 (about $60 USD) with a handful of components: two Arduino UNO R3 boards, several hobby servo motors, simple L298N motor drivers, and a PC power supply. One Arduino board controls most of the servo movement, while the second focuses on the face tracking movement.
The Arduino boards don’t handle the processing, which is instead outsourced to a PC running Python scripts. Those do the heavy lifting of face recognition, voice recognition, and voice synthesis. The PC then passes movement commands to the Arduino boards through serial.
CHAD’s body and most of its mechanical components are 3D-printable, with two lengths of wood acting as the primary structure. That helps to keep the cost down, giving everyone the chance to create a humanoid robot.