Intel Will Launch An Open-Source Consumer Robot That's Like 'A Smartphone With Legs'

Intel will have a open-source robot available for consumers by the end of the year, the company announced today during Re/Code’s tech conference.

It will be capable of a variety of things on its own. Intel futurist Brian David Johnson demoed his robot (named Jimmy), where it walked, talked, danced, and tweeted.

The robot is an open-source design, which means the plans will be freely available for people to build their own at home. (You’ll want a 3-D printer for this). You’ll be able to modify it as you see fit. The non-3D-printable parts — motors, processors, and the like — will be available for purchase as a kit from

There will eventually be an app marketplace, something akin to Apple’s App Store, but for robots. “It’s like a smartphone with legs,” said Johnson. “Your robot will be completely different from mine; you customise it and program the artificial intelligence, not by having a PhD in robotics, but by downloading apps.”

Jimmy can’t do much right now aside from the previously mentioned walking and dancing, but the important takeaway here is that this robot will represent a drastically reduced barrier for those wanting to enter robotics. The open source nature of the bot means people will continue to develop for it well after its release, and those developments can continue to be tweaked and modified by a community of hobbyists. Intel may very well be introducing the first humanoid robot you actually see in people’s homes.

Below is a quick video introduction to Jimmy, and below that is a presentation from 2013 (it starts around the seven minute mark) that shows Johnson speaking at length about robots in general and Jimmy in particular.

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