If you have an industrial background, you likely think of robotic arms as expensive and very tough mechanisms, somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 feet tall to much larger. On the other end of the spectrum, there have been robotic toys that are much cheaper, both in cost and build quality, for almost as long as actual robots. Now, though, with the advent of cheap microcontrollers and personal manufacturing, we’ve seen “toy” robots start to appear that are quite a bit better than what has come before, appropriate for educational purposes, or the serious hobbyist.
If you’re interesting in one of these not-quite-toys, “Pedro” can fit comfortably in the palm of your hand, and is available in a full 3D-printed kit, or as the control board only. It features four axes of control, including the end-of-arm tooling, and as shown in the video below, it can be programmed to pick and place objects in a repetitive motion, triggered by an onboard button.
The robot can be controlled via a GUI seen above, and since the control board uses an ATmega328P, it can be programmed via the Arduino IDE. Additionally, the control board includes four potentiometers, allowing an operator to move each axis manually.