We feature a lot of really impressive projects here on the Hackster blog, and it’s easy to think of their creators as techno-wizards that nail the execution on their first try. The reality, however, is that they usually spend a lot of time developing their projects before publishing a concise build log and a polished finished product. Sanjeet Chatterjee took a different approach, and showed how his R3–14 robotic personal assistant came to life over the course of two years of development.
R3–14 runs Google Assistant, and also integrates SiriControl for some home automation tasks. It’s controlled by voice commands, or with a web app. R3–14’s head can move around with a pair of servos, and has an on-board camera for facial tracking. It uses a pair of RGB LED eyes and text-to-speech functionality to provide feedback. In addition to normal IoT control, it utilizes a 433MHz transmitter and receiver to record and replay remote codes, because that’s cheaper than smart bulbs or sockets.
Chatterjee’s project log really stands out because he shows his early prototypes. While the final version of R3–14 has a 3D-printed body, the early iterations were skinned with hand-cut aluminum. He also explains how he had originally chosen to use the open source Jasper voice control platform, before eventually switching to the more polished Google Assistant SDK. The finished R3–14 looks awesome and appears to work well, and it’s great to see the trial-and-error that went into getting there.