Automate your house with the Niryo One robotic arm [Sticky or Not?]

Robotic arms are already hard at work in this world (e.g. industrial robot workers) and in outer-space (think Canadarm, Canada’s addition to the International Space Station) but they’ve yet to make in-roads when it comes to domestic activities. That could change with the advent of devices like Niryo One, an open-source 6-axis robotic arm currently fundraising on Kickstarter.

At 699 Euro (about $1,026 CAD) for the full Niryo One Maker Kit or 119 Euro (about $174 CAD) for a Mini Niryo One Kit, the 3D-printed robot’s pricing is fairly accessible to its target demographic of market, robotics students or small manufacturing companies.

It’s also available for $999 Euro (about $1,466 CAD) fully assembled.

The promotional video for Niryo One shows the robot passing its human tools, stirring pots on the stove, automating a 3D printer, drilling and drawing — though it seems the overarching selling point is education. The Niryo One isn’t guaranteed to turn your home into an episode of The Jetsons anytime soon, but at the very least you’ll have fun assembling and programming it.

The arm is powered by Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Robot Operating System. The Kickstarter notes that STL files and code on the robot will be open source “after the first shipments” and that the Niryo One team is building a complete set of cloud services for the hardware and an open-source community.

The Wi-Fi-enabled arm can be operated in many different ways — users can teach it positions through manual manipulation, operate it with an Xbox or PlayStation controller or through a web, Android or iOS app. Once the Niryo One team launches its cloud service (a beta version is in the works for September 2017), users will be able to switch from web to mobile or mobile to web while everything stays in synch in the background.

Additionally, users will be able to share programs they’ve created with other users, plan robot tasks, stream video to see task execution and get automatic robot updates.

The project, which closes April 25th, estimates deliveries beginning September 2017.

Verdict: Not sticky (yet)

The moment I saw the Niryo One I was reminded of one of my all-time favourite memes:

While that may not be entirely fair to this new robot, it is clear from the Kickstarter’s promotional materials that this robotic arm IS more about fun and learning than it is about practical application.

Which is cool and all, but $1,026 is a lot more than I usually pay for fun. My fun budget is set firmly at the price of a medium pizza.

Having said that, it could no doubt be a useful or enriching buy for enthusiastic groups that could split the cost or write it off, like maker spaces or small manufacturing businesses.

And perhaps as the Niryo One team iterates in the future, this little house robot will eventually achieve true stickiness.

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series titled Sticky or Not. Sticky or Not began as a series on MobileSyrup’s Snapchat account in which Rose Behar analyzes new and often bizarre gadgets, rating them sticky (good) or not (bad). Now the series is expanding to include articles, because who doesn’t love a quirky new gadget?