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April 4th, 2017

Cheap Arm Project: Affordable, Open Source DIY Robotics

Not so long ago, when we mentioned “open source,” we were nearly always talking about software. These days, open source can refer to almost anything — like this affordable DIY robot from “Cheap Arm Project.”

The Screening Room

CHAP Cheap Arm Project

When someone creates a new GitHub repository for a project that could help people around the world extend the reach of their limbs, I get a lump in my throat. The YouTube description of this open source hardware/software project describes the project in much better ways than I ever could.

“The video shows first design of teleoperated mobile robotic manipulator produced in the Cheap Arm Project (CHAP). It costs less than $2,000, uses easily available parts and can be assembled by anybody with basic technical skills. The manipulator can reach objects from floor-level up to shelves at a height of 170cm using a new low-cost arm design. Teleoperation is done using a tablet, smartphone or browser. The cost could be further reduced by using different servomotors. The design and assembly instructions are made available on the open-source repository GitHub, with the hope that the community will build and improve the design.

You can find more information on the Robohub website.

The two masterminds behind this project are Dominic Cassidy and Guido Bugmann.

For the past 10 years, Phil has been working at a public library in the Washington D.C.-area, helping youth and adults use the 28 public Linux stations the library offers seven days a week. He also writes for MAKE magazine, Opensource.com and TechSoup Libraries. Suggest videos by contacting Phil on Twitter or at pshapiro@his.com.

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