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XYZbot's Fritz offers a cheaper robot head, free trips to the uncanny valley (video)


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It's been relatively easy to get your hands on an expressive robot face... if you're rich or a scientist, that is. XYZbot would like to give the rest of us a shot by crowdfunding Fritz, an Arduino-powered robot head. The build-it-yourself (and eerily human-proportioned) construction can react to pre-programmed actions, text-to-speech conversion or live control, ranging from basics like the eyes and jaw to the eyelids, eyebrows, lips and neck of an Advanced Fritz. Windows users should have relatively simple control through an app if they just want to play, but where Fritz may shine is its open source nature: the code and hardware schematics will be available for extending support, changing the look or building a larger robot where Fritz is just one part. The $125 minimum pledge required to set aside a Fritz ($199 for an Advanced Fritz) isn't trivial, but it could be a relative bargain if XYZbot makes its $25,000 goal -- and one of the quickest routes to not-quite-lifelike robotics outside of a research grant.

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