Click on the picture above for more information about the DARwIn-mini.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How the Other Guys can get a DARwIn-OP, Part Three!

A DARwIn-OP bracket less kit!

This is a third in a series of posts on how the average person (like me) can get access to this very cool robot platform. I have been thinking about this for a while. I think that Robotis should sale this version of the DARwIn-OP for two reasons. One to lower the cost and two to encourage variety with the DARwIn-OP design.
Let’s look at the first reason. I am building a mech-warfare bot and I am upgrading my Bioloid humanoid for Robogames. Both builds have reinforced my opinion that building a robot is both time consuming and tedious at times. It is also increased my estimate of the labor cost involved in both making the metal brackets, building the DARwIn-OP and testing the robot. It is still hard for me to accurately quessestimation* the total cost saving for this option but I am now thinking it is in the thousands of dollars per robot. The DARwIn-OP will always be a very limited production robot with no economy of scale to lower the price. Also I think that you would need a highly skilled labor force to both build and test the robot. Which also increases the labor cost for the robot.

My second thought is how to encourage modding of the DARwIn-OP. If you sale a kit version of the DARwIn-OP without brackets or outside shell that would encourage buyers to put their own twist on the DARwIn-OP. Specially in the head and body shell design with different colors and shapes. I can tell you that I have been thinking about this since I first saw the robot in person! This also can be further encourage by having a website where people can post the cool mods that they have dreamed up for the robot, very similar to the idea behind Thingiverse for the MakerBot.

As I said above this is a third in a series of post on how the Other Guys can get their own DARwIn-OP! I would be interested in feedback and your ideas on this.

* My term for pulling figures out of your butt! (quesstimate) 


  1. How do the other "other guys" get a Darwin ?

    Sure if you want to get a 12k bot for 10k then add your own brackets, you get a cool deal, but are you an "other guy" or just a "mean rich other guy"

    Your earlier posts suggest compromises on servos etc. Maybe otherguys can have a Darwin, but not an OP. The LC was AX18 based and not FitPC, I think and so much lower cost. The FitPC is a large payload for the AX servos. How important are some of the features like speech ? Fit Pc comes with lots of heavy stuff like HDMI video, Gigabit Ethernet, executive entry to planet Microsoft,.. Do you need this ?

  2. Not sure if I understand what your point is? Open platform means that you can build the version that best fits your needs. Then you can upgrade the robot when you have time and money.

  3. It is not clear where your entry level is for this kit. Is 10K + brackets the entry due to making your own brackets and 12K the full OP ? Still big $ mainly restricted to colleges and schools rather than individuals.

    What to you are the esentials of Darwin and what might be a lower cost entry level working up from the premium or GP ?

  4. Richard/I-Bot,

    I am still not sure if you truly understand what open platform (open hardware and software) means. I am just throwing out ideas on how an average person like myself can take advantage of the DARwIn-OP platform. Each individual who wants a DARwIn-OP can customize their version to fit their budget and needs. I do think that robots in the future are going to need more processing power on board, like the FITPC to do more autonomous behaviors and to process sensor information. I think you are too fixated on cost for some reason. Everyone in the field of robotics has to deal with the tradeoff of cost to capabilities.