A new Kickstarter project is giving people an opportunity to have their own robot. According to its Kickstarter page, “Fritz is a robotic puppet head, with moving eyes and jaw, but also (in the advanced version available) eyelids, eyebrows, lips and moving neck.” Users can control Fritz with an included app.
The control app for Fritz has a picture of Fritz’s face. When the user moves the mouse over his face, green control dots will appear. You can then click and drag to move the part that you want to move. Users can also choose to click on a pre-generated expression, which will cause Fritz to display that expression. Some of the pre-generated expressions include angry, awkward, disappointed, sad, sleepy, surprised, and worried. Fritz can also be used as a puppet or ventriloquist dummy, with a joystick for a controller. Also, the Text to Speech feature allows users to type in text and have Fritz move his lips in sync to the spoken text.
Fritz was created by a Denver-based company called XYZbot. The open source project is meant to be an accessible project. The company plans to publish all of the design files, including both hardware and software. XYZbot states that you can build your own Fritz from scratch, that is, if you have access to a laser cutter and/or 3D printer.
The company is also promoting the potential educational uses of Fritz. The robot head can be easily assembled and the software is easy to update and modify. XYZbot states that Fritz is a great way for kids to try out robotics and animatronics. Aside from the educational potential, Fritze is fun. If funded, the Kickstarter project offers two versions of Fritz. The advanced version would sell for $215 and the basic version would sell for $140.
[Image via kickstarter]