Kerwin lumpkins has 16 years experience in engineering practice. He has designed and built robotic systems, first as a hobby and then professionally for 10 years. For XYZbot he wears a hat as both an electrical systems engineer and mechanical engineer. Before his engineering career he served for six years in the US Marines.
Steven Gentner is the founder of RoboRealm, the company responsible for the popular machine vision software application. The RoboRealm software is an application for use in computer vision, image analysis, and robotic vision systems. Prior to RoboRealm, Steven began his technical career at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles where he participated in the groundbreaking Mercury Project and Robotic Telegarden systems. Both projects connected online users with the real world by deploying robotic arms that interacted with the environment. After receiving his MS in Computer Science, Steven went on develop some of the first Internet controlled mobile robots which lead to the development of RoboRealm.
We created Fritz to provide folks with an inexpensive open platform that can be controlled and programmed via an Arudino microcontroller or indirectly via a PC. Many platforms exist for research purposes but most of them are not accessible, controllable or hackable to the average consumer. Other more commercially available animatronic heads are difficult to modify, customize or change to suit your own needs unless you are a reverse engineering expert. With Fritz you have access to all hardware and software designs such that you don't have to spend time researching or analyzing a system just to make a change.
We would like to see Fritz used all over the world as a research and educational platform. Robotics is a difficult area for development since it requires many disciplines to produce a final product. By providing a commercially available hardware and software product we provide a dramatic head start for anyone interested in robotic projects.
Providing a 'face' to robotics is very important to us. For most of the past decades, we have educated ourselves in order to understand how to interface with machines. With modern fabrication techniques, low cost processing power and lower cost mechanical parts we can begin to create machines that better interface to us. In doing so, we make robotics accessible and understandable to a much larger population that can benefit from automation in improving their lives.
Robots have a personality ... just ask any robotic engineer, the problem is that this is not obvious to most of us since the communication of this personality is in a different form that we are used to. We hope that the adoption of Fritz will help to reduce this confusion. We are very interested to see what Fritz looks like after 10 years of collaborative effort from around the world.
We chose Fritz as the name in honor of Fritz Lang, the creator of the film Metropolis, and the iconic robot female Maria (or Hel if you're a purist). We wanted to name it Karel after the Czech writer Karel Capek but Fritz was simpler and more friendly. In the US, Karel would have been read sounding like the female name "Carol". So we went with Fritz.
ENGINEERING.com Fritz .. achieves an excellent interpretation of human facial expressions using only 13 motions.
Engadget XYZbot's Fritz offers a cheaper robot head, free trips to the uncanny valley.
the Slanted Fritz is an amazing robotic puppet that needs your support, and your creativity
Fritz was also mentioned on The Huffington Post.
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