Pollen Robotics' Reachy Tips Its Hat at CES as the Open Source Robot Goes Up for Pre-Order

A CES launch brings pricing for the one- or two-arm robot, but with only 15 available the open source repo may be of more interest.

Gareth Halfacree
9 months agoRobotics

Pollen Robotics has begun taking orders for Reachy, a Raspberry Pi-powered, open source interactive robot built around a mechanical human-like arm and extendable via an "expressive head" designed to provoke emotional responses.

"Today, not a day goes by without most of us interacting with a smartphone. In five years time, we believe that not a day will go by without most of us interacting with a robot," Pollen founders Matthieu Lapeyre and Pierre Rouanet claim. "Robots are becoming the go-to platform to provide people with professional and personal services. Businesses will have to be quick to take ownership of AI robotics and incorporate them into their activity."

A quick way to take ownership is, of course, to pick up Pollen's own design: Reachy. Unveiled during CES 2020, Reachy is a modular robot built around the company's human-like arm system — and configurable with one or two arms each boasting seven degrees of freedom, along with an optional antenna-equipped head designed to move around and provide an expressive appearance for interactive projects.

A key feature of Reachy, aside from its modular nature, is that it comes with a series of "operational environments" including playing noughts and crosses, serving coffee, playing musical instruments, and handing out objects, as a basis for developing more custom operational modes. Both the software and the hardware are open source, the former built on the Pypot library and distributed under the LGPL Licence and the latter designed using OnShape and provided as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike material.

The CES launch of Reachy comes as the company looks to sell its first batch of robots, just 15 in number. Pricing, as you might expect with such limited quantities available, is relatively high: A single-arm kit without the expressive head starts at $8,900 rising to $10,900 with expressive head and £16,900 with second arm.

Those interested in splashing some cash can request to be added to the pre-order queue on the Pollen Robotics website; those more interested in what's going under under the hood can find the hardware and software designs on the company's GitHub repository.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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