Inspired by the 2011 sci-fi film Real Steel starring Hugh Jackman, Greek teenager Dimitris Hatzis has become the youngest person in the world to build a 3D printed life-size functional robot.
15-year-old Dimitris’s feat was a part of ‘InMoov’, an open source project run by French sculptor and designer Gael Langevin. The project provides a design that is “replicable on any home 3D printer with a 12x12x12cm area.” Using these instructions, Dimitris spent over 1,400 hours planning, experimenting, printing, and assembling the robot. Over the course of a year, he made 475 printed parts using about a kilometer of ABS plastic and painstakingly put them together to form the droid that he now calls ‘Troopy’.
Dimitris is the youngest of only six people in the world who have been able to follow Langevin’s design and successfully complete the project. The other successful participants include Langevin himself, two Russians, an Italian, and a German. Dimitris revealed that he was regularly in touch with the others and worked with them as peers, even though they were much older to him.
Some of Troopy’s key features include independent eye and head movements, and five degrees of freedom (DOF) in each arm. The 1.85-meter tall droid can accurately mimic human movements, and communicate in fluent English. According to Dimitris, however, the state-of-the-art robot is far from complete. “Every new robot has an improved model of the previous one – this is why the robot hasn’t yet morphed into its final form and maybe never will, constantly being improved and updated,” he explained.
He also revealed that interest in robotics began at a very early age, but it wasn’t until late 2013, when he saw Real Steel, that he began to think of building Troopy. His incredible creation won him the first prize at this year’s Industrial Informatics Festival i2fest, held in Kavala. Last year, he had won the second prize for designing and building a 3D home printer from scratch.