Interactive 3D-printed robot developed for educational purposes

Liberty Science Center in New Jersey has created an exhibition with a robot named SARA (Stevens Artistic Robot Animatron), which was created by students at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.


Liberty Science Center in New Jersey has created an exhibition with a robot named SARA (Stevens Artistic Robot Animatron), which was created by students at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. Courtesy: Stevens Institute of Technology

Imagine meeting a robot that can play "Simon Says," responds to commands, and even takes a selfie. At Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, one can do those things and more with SARA (Stevens Artistic Robot Animatron), a full upper-torso interactive 3D-printed robot. Students at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey created the robot, which can move, swivel, raise its arms, pick up items, and wiggle its fingers.

LSC President and CEO Paul Hoffman said, "Many of our guests are in middle and high school-not much younger than the Stevens students. It is particularly exciting for us, and inspiring for our young guests, to have the Stevens team sharing their amazing work with our community."

Based on work from French designer Gael Langevin and his InMoov open source project, SARA was transformed by computer-aided design (CAD). Approximately 100 components including joints, 'bones' and other mechanical parts of the robot were printed in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic.

After the pieces were printed, student Peter Bruinooge, a mechanical engineering major, assembled them as if he were putting together LEGOs. "I really enjoy the process of creating things from thin air," said Bruinooge.

"I was always that kid with LEGOs, the one who liked to take apart and build things with his hands," he said. "This is an extension of that. With 3D printing, you can design something on a computer and, just a few hours later, begin producing a prototype of the object."

Stevens Prototype Object Fabrication (PROOF) lab director Professor Kishore Pochiraju coordinated the exhibit with Liberty Science Center to inspire young people who visit the center.

"LSC receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year: parents, high school and junior high-school students, educators, the local scientific community, many others," said Pochiraju. "We're so pleased to be able to bring Stevens' student ingenuity and a fun application of our own technology to their diverse audiences. We hope it inspires some of these young people visiting the Science Center to become interested in science and engineering education and careers themselves."

Stevens Institute of Technology 

- Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media, See more Control Engineering robotics stories.

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