PLEN Project (previously the Systec Akazawa Co. Ltd.), an Osaka-based software and robot design house, recently released new demo videos of their table-top wireless humanoid robot, PLEN, driving a small car around and diligently cleaning a work desk as well as a computer screen.
Since its initial release back in 2008, PLEN has made quite an Internet sensation with its highly impressive balancing acts and athletic acrobatics in several hit videos. The name PLEN was derived from the english word “plain,” to better emphasize its simple and friendly design characteristics.
Thanks to its 3-axis accelerometers, 18 servo-motors (translating to 18 degrees of freedom), and a 32bit ARM7 CPU, PLEN is adept in both simple and complicated balancing motions like walking, dancing, clapping, standing up, lifting small items, righting itself after taking a tumble, kicking a soccer, rollerskating, and using a skateboard with lifelike proficiency. Weighing a mere 0.7 kg, PLEN is about 23 cm tall, with a wingspan of 13 cm.
Although PLEN isn’t capable of independent sensing and automatic reacting to new situations, it can be fully remote-controlled via Bluetooth protocol by use of a PC software controller or an Android Smartphone App. The robot is operable up to 25 minutes after each recharge and has 20 pre-set movements, but the user can use the controller to design further antics for the small robot to realize.
Regrettably, such adorable spectacles don’t come in cheap—right now, to own a PLEN will cost you at least 250,000 JPY (around 2,110 USD). However, on December 2nd, PLEN Project has just released their latest design: a "PLEN copter” drone prototype.
For those of us who cannot afford to own the robot itself, perhaps we can still expect to see more amusing videos starring PLEN and its various flying adventures soon.