Now that 3D printing technology is taking off, some truly unique projects are beginning to emerge from all sorts of talented people. Take Gael Langevin, a French sculptor and model marker who has spent the better part of the last year designing and engineering his own animatronic robot called InMoov. And it's open source, so if you're feeling confident, you can try to build one yourself using a list of off-the-shelf electronics and parts he shares on 3D file sharing site Thingiverse.

InMoov started out as just an arm and hand, but Langevin has started to work on a head and torso for his creation. We've seen some remarkable hobby robot projects, but it's rare to see a life-sized android aimed at DIYers. Perhaps it will eventually get a pair of legs at some point in the future.

Considering that much smaller robot kits can cost upwards of two or three grand, it seems almost absurd that you can build two adult size robot arms, with individually-actuated fingers, for around US$900 dollars (excluding the cost of the 3D printer itself). You'll need to download and print parts for the left and right arm, with the head and neck still to come. You'll also need these electronics components:

  • Arduino uno x2
  • MG995 / HK2598 servos x12
  • Hitec HS805BB servos x8
  • 0.8mm nylon thread (fishing line)
  • miscellaneous bolts
  • 3 kg natural ABS filament (various colors)
  • 6V 44A Batteries and charger

Of course, the whole point of building an InMoov is to see it do some tricks. So far Langevin has chosen a combination of Serialterm, MyRobotLab, and Arduino sketch programming languages, and he's sharing his progress on his website. There you can follow (and perhaps contribute to) InMoov's development, which is shaping up to be one of the more extraordinary do-it-yourself hobby robots, and one that has already garnered interest from some university labs.

If the project is completed, it will certainly give Engineered Arts' Robothespian (which is priced at a staggering $87,208 dollars) a run for its money.

The first video below shows inMoov’s arm movements, while the second video shows inMoov’s hands and fingers.

Source: InMoov via 3ders

Current progress:

Hand and fingers:

View gallery - 14 images