Let’s face it, robots are cool. I personally find them to be fascinating. They’re futuristic. I’d always hoped to have my own version of Rosie from the Jetsons by now. Oh well.
Even though robots are nowhere near where I thought they would be by now, any robotic projects I see, I just have to read about. Much like the robot jellyfish Cyro, this guy caught my eye.
Meet Fritz. He is a robotic puppet head. Yes, only a head. What makes him unique is that he is able to interpret human facial expressions using only 13 motions.
Robot Fritz comes with an easy to use interface for Windows. The interface allows the user to control Fritz from a mouse, keyboard, joystick, or even a game controller. You can also make him speak by typing text into a box.
You can dress him up for Halloween or let him entertain your dinner guests. The possibilities are endless with Fritz!
He comes in two versions: basic and advanced. Basic Fritz has eyes and a mouth and is more for fun than learning, while advanced Fritz has much more detail, including eyelids, lips, and eyebrows. Advanced Fritz could potentially be used in the future to help children with autism, much like with studies of autistic children interacting with the robot NAO.
Fritz is also an open source project. This means that if you are computer savvy and have the ability to use a 3D printer or laser cutter, you can build Fritz any way you like! This is great for those who are interested in the robotics.
If you aren’t the type that would be interested in the open source part of Fritz, he is otherwise easy to assemble. With a few hours, a screwdriver, pliers, and some glue, you’ll have your very own robotic pal!
Right now, the creators of Fritz have a funding project up on Kickstarter. Their goal is $25,000 to get Fritz in production. The minimum pledge needed to receive a basic Fritz Robotic Puppet is $125. The kit includes all the parts needed to assemble Fritz and a program to control him, but the basic kit has limited movement compared to the advanced Fritz.
For more details on the project or to get your own kit, check out Fritz: A Robotic Puppet on Kickstarter.