I have one question for you: Do you want a robot arm to play with? The answer should be of course, yes. If it’s not, you might be a boring person and you should be ashamed of yourself. Go sit in the corner.
For the rest of you, the uArm Swift is an Indiegogo project (they’re like Kickstarter - a crowd-funded startup that gets people to pre-order products to fund production) that can get you a working Robotic Assistant arm for as little as $209. Yes, you read that right.
Different configurations can do everything from simple object manipulation (pick up and place somewhere else), 3D printing, laser engraving, writing, to painting and more.
For $499, you can get a full package that includes a gripper, laser and 3D printer head. If you’re feeling spendy, you can order a small robot army for $1,559 that includes five arms with Bluetooth sensors. As for what you plan to do with that, well, you’re on your own, and I won’t tell anyone, I promise.
The Swift also claims to be easy to use. You start with an offline learning mode, where you simply tell the arm to mimic your own movements. “Plug, press and play,” as they say on their Indiegogo campaign. A short video loop shows the arm mimicking a user’s exact movements, and it’s pretty mesmerizing.
Stepping up from there, you can program the arm using the included software called uArm Studio, which works via a simple graphical interface much like you’d see in music or video production suites like Garage Band or Final Cut. There are also gesture sensors, Bluetooth control via smartphone and a bevy of available “end-effectors” - hands and fingers, if you will. Everything from suction cups and grippers are already in the works.
If this thing doesn’t get you nerding out, I don’t know what will.