The Multifunction HUEINT Aims to Replace Half-a-Dozen Devices with a Single Tool-Swapping Robot Arm

With computer vision, voice recognition, 3D printing, laser cutting, suction, and a pen tool, the HUENIT is nothing if not versatile.

Robotics startup HUENIT has launched a crowdfunding campaign for its eponymous multi-function robot arm, combining robotics, on-device AI with camera, 3D printing, pen plotting, and even laser engraving in a single device.

"HUENIT is a modular robot arm designed to utilize AI, 3D, laser, and robotics easily and quickly," writes Hallie Froggatt of her company's design. "Using HUENIT, you can make all the ideas you imagine into reality" — and by "all," the company is really reaching for "all" with a feature-list that would appear to be aiming to replace a half-dozen dedicated devices.

The HUENIT robot arm boasts a wealth of tools and an optional AI camera — plus a module to build your own add-ons. (📹: HUENIT)

The heart of the HUENIT is a modular robot arm, offering a 750g (around 26.5oz) payload, a 390mm (around 15.4") reach, a 500mm/s (around 19.7" per second) speed, and a 0.05mm (around 0.002") repeatability. A "head" hosts an "AI Camera" module, combining a two megapixel camera sensor with an on-board Kendryte K210 RISC-V-based computer system capable of running a TensorFlow computer vision workload at 30 frames per second. There's also a 0.5W speaker, MEMS microphone with voice recognition support, and a 60 RGB LED matrix for animations, while a 2.4" touchscreen display sits at the end of a cable for remote control.

Underneath the camera system is a suction grabber with 180 degrees of rotation and three cup sizes for the gripper. This can be swapped out for a pen holder to use the device as a plotter, with a 2.5W laser suitable for cutting thinner materials and engraving others, or with a 3D printing head suitable for PLA, APS, and TPU printing.

That's already an impressive array of capabilities, but HUENIT has another trick up its sleeve: The "Creator Module," designed to allow makers to build their own tools to add to the HUENIT ecosystem. The module includes mounting via M3 bolt, a serial port for communication with any electronics you may wish to add, and 24V and 5V power outputs.

Better still, the modules are easy to swap out via electromagnet - and the arm can do it unattended, for more complicated jobs involving multiple tools. "HUENIT can replace the module itself by using an electromagnet," Froggatt explains. "By using its auto tool change, HUENIT can take on the workload of 2~3 normal robot arms. Continuously produce laser engraving products or drawings using HUENIT's pen holders."

The HUEINT, the company's first product, is now funding on Kickstarter with physical rewards starting at $459 for super early bird backers — but this comes with the robot arm, a module holder, and Creator Module only.

A pack that includes the Creator Module, 3D printing tool, pen tool, laser tool, suction tool, AI camera, and five module holders for tool-swapping is priced at $729.

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