What is Hubert the Humanoid?
After 5 years of designing, manufacturing, and shipping robots around the world, we have taken everything we have learned to create our newest robot - Hubert the Humanoid.
We previously launched the robots Hexy the Hexapod and Sparki on Kickstarter to teach beginner and intermediate robotics, successfully raising and shipping over $350,000 to 2500 backers. Now, they are taught at thousands of K-12 schools, and the world's top universities and programs:
We’re bringing Hubert the Humanoid to Kickstarter to help teach advanced robotics - the latest and greatest in modern robotics. Hubert runs on and teaches the same robotics used by cutting-edge university research labs and top robotics companies.
Similar robots are currently available and used, but start at 10x the price of Hubert. We’re making a full suite of college-level robotics lessons cheaper than the cost of a single college robotics class - and you get to keep the robot.
With in-depth, free web tutorials we’ll host on the ArcBotics website in all these subjects and more, you’ll be a robotics engineer in no time. Just as with our other past robots, we’ll also continue to develop new lessons for Hubert over time.
Why would I want Hubert?
- Because, I mean, look at that thing. It’s a sweet robot.
- You’re interested in pursuing robotics, and want the most affordable, top-to-bottom college-level robotics class you’ll ever find - while getting to use your own humanoid robot. Hubert is cheaper than a single university robotics class, and you get to keep him at the end!
- You’re an educator, and want to prepare your students in the latest real-world STEM skills, with a real-world robot.
- You’re into robotics and are a ‘software person’, but building a humanoid robot from scratch isn’t your thing (or is just too expensive).
- You’ve always wanted a robot that could perform your wildest robotics fantasies - but wow is building one from scratch hard and expensive.
- You’d like to compete in robotics competitions - RoboCup, Mech-Warfare, Humanoid Robot Racing.
- You’re a robotics researcher, and don’t want to blow all your grant money on a single robot.
- You need a robot to pass the butter.
What makes up Hubert?
We designed Hubert around our Open-Source Hardware (OSHW) philosophy, making all top-grade components easily accessible. The underlying aluminum metal bracket system provides plenty of mounting points, which the OSHW electronics and sheet metal covers are mounted to. All parts are only a few screws away.
- Dual-camera stereo HD vision cameras
- On-board Raspberry Pi 3, preloaded with all necessary software
- 24 Custom smart servo - incredibly high torque, voltage independent, embedded sensors with serial communication
- Custom Arduino-compatible Python-powered servo controller, with on-board 9-axis Motion and Bluetooth 4 LE connection
- Rigid aluminum frame
- Removable outer sheet metal shell - easily remove, design, and attach your own shell or parts
- Functional grippers
- Speaker and microphone
- Touch-screen LCD head
- Independent emotive ears
- 100% Open Source Hardware
Hubert’s Custom Servo
To bring a robot like this down from research lab prices, we had to start from scratch on each and every component. Servos are usually the single biggest expense, so we focused the most on them.
We started by sampling dozens of different RC servos from experienced factories, took the best one we could find, and totally re-built it to be our own ideal servo. Our custom controller board packs the same power as an Arduino inside each and every servo. Combined with additional control and sensing circuitry, it’s a dream servo at a bargain price.
We want to make Hubert easy to learn with, and that means making it easy to hack on as well. We designed Hubert to use defacto standard components and systems. No custom arcane interfaces, weird connectors, or crippled, under-developed Linux boards. We use community standards that are easy to support and learn - and actually useful when you want to apply them elsewhere.
Another advantage to this approach is that it’s inherently future-proof. All computer features are driverless USB devices connected via an USB hub, and the screen is an HDMI device. As long as computers use USB and HDMI, you’ll be able to use Hubert.
How is this so inexpensive?
Current research-grade robots are laboriously handmade and assembled, without care for cost. ArcBotics has been exploring manufacturing techniques for producing this robot for years.
- Low overhead - We’re not a gigantic VC-backed company with a ton of employees and a fancy office, so we don’t need to make huge profits to support all that.
- Custom-made servos - Other robots just use $200 servos. *Good* servos are easily the most expensive part of a complex robot like hubert. Cheap RC servos won’t do here (trust us). We’ve taken existing servos, worked out why they suck, and figured out how to improve all those points without substantially increasing cost. We can do this because we have years of relationship with our partner factories (and we order a ton of servos already).
- Building differently - Most robots are made out of a ton of custom CNC’d parts, outrageously expensive injection molds, and use custom motors. Custom custom custom. Ew. We went to appliance and door hinge factories instead. We took the same manufacturing magic that gets you $40 microwaves and are turning it into robots.
- Designing for low-quantity - We designed Hubert so we don’t need to make thousands of units to be successful, and having to bankroll the loans and interest to do so. All manufacturing processes are available in-house or contracted out to partners when need be at low quantity.
- Buying direct - No middleman for us. We know where the good stuff is, having lived in and explored Shenzhen for years (and re-visiting regularly). We know a guy who knows a guy’s brother. It’s cool.
- We do other stuff - We make money selling other robots as well. So when we say, hire an accountant, it’s not just Hubert paying for that. He just chips in!
- It’s a kit - Hubert takes quite a while to assemble - expect to make it a fun weekend project, learning a lot along the way. (Don’t worry, we’ll have full assembly guides.) Paying someone to assemble that is a lot of money you don’t have to pay.
We haven’t forgotten about our original Hexy the Hexapod customers! 5 years later, and we’re still thinking about you. ;)
Hubert’s servo control board (available for purchase separately) will be backwards-compatible with Hexy, and our upgraded PoMoCo 3.0 software and app will feature full backwards-compatibility with Hexy’s Servotor32 controller. You’ll even be able to use the same code we’re developing for Hubert for Hexy, and most of the tutorials will apply backwards as well. That said, stay tuned - Hexy the Hexapod 2.0 is next!
Why We Need Your Help
ArcBotics is a small, independent robotics company, entirely funded through Kickstarter and our direct sales.
Our next step is to move from our working prototype to a ready-for-manufacturing prototype, then we can move to a mass production run. Given all the custom and numerous components that make up Hubert, this is a significant investment in terms of time, securing all the components that have large MOQs (minimum order quantities) like our custom servos (good thing there’s a lot per robot!), and manufacturing our custom metal brackets, servos, and more. Your support in this campaign will help us go through this final and crucial stage.
It will also require our team to go to Asia to oversee manufacturing and QC processes. Luckily, we already have extensive experience doing this, as we moved to Asia for almost 2 years after our last Kickstarter for Sparki to source and supervise all of our partners. We already have our own final small parts, QC, and final assembly factory, as well as a network of other partner factories we already work with for our multiple other products.
We just need your support now to make Hubert the Humanoid into a reality!
ArcBotics and Community
We are proud of the long-term relationships we have developed with 20 global retailers including Barnes and Noble, Adafruit, and RobotShop.
We have been honored to receive awards for our educational robotics work, including:
- Forbes 30 Under 30 2017: Education
- Maker Faire Editor's Choice Award
- Adafruit's Holiday Gift Guide #1 Robot
- Make Magazine Holiday Gift Guide
We are extremely proud of our amazing global open source community, and all that they have done with Hexy and Sparki. You can check out some of their projects on Youtube.
Risks and challenges
This isn’t our first rodeo - we know from experience that making hardware is hard.
Which is why we have spent the last 5 years honing our design for manufacturing techniques, our supply chain, fulfillment house, customer support, and partners every step of the process. We even moved to Asia for almost 2 years to hone our extensive supply chain, oversee manufacturing processes in person, and find the best partners for each component.
Most new Kickstarter companies fail during the manufacturing phase because they have never scaled from 1 unit to thousands. We know how to deliver, given that we have successfully shipped two prior Kickstarter campaigns to over 2500 backers, tens of thousands more robots to happy customers afterwards, and have long-term relationships with over 20 retailers worldwide.
We are already an established hardware company, and our community means everything to us. We can't wait to bring Hubert to you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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