Reachy, the torso-shaped humanoid robot that made a splash at last year’s CES, has now been upgraded with new cameras and an x86 processor in place of Raspberry Pi. The brainchild of France’s Pollen Robotics, Reachy has two arms with hands that can lift up to 500g each and an expressive head with two camera eyes.
The new version of Reachy, which is due out this spring, will use an Intel NUC x86 PC as its brains instead of the Raspberry Pi 4 B, which powered the original version. The eye cameras now provide stereoscopic vision with up to a 70-degree horizontal FOV and a 125-degree vertical FOV.
While the Reachy we saw demoed at CES 2020 was running Raspberry Pi OS, the new model runs ROS (Robot Operating System). That means it’s still based on an open-source platform. Other than that, the new Reachy, which will not carry a different name or version number, will look the same, including its striped shirt.
With the enhanced vision and processing, using Reachy for complex tasks should be even easier. In a video call, the company showed us how an employee with a VR headset and controllers could see what the robot sees, move its arms and use its hands to pick up small children’s blocks and drop them into a bin.
You can also program the robot to work independently, using its eye cameras for computer vision that it can then use to do something fairly complex like putting food in a microwave oven. Its microphone and speaker allow it to do speech recognition and to talk back to humans.
The company said it has already sold around 30 of the original Reachy models, with some going to retail spaces and others for organizations to use for their own research and development.
The new models will cost a bit more. While the original Reachy costs around $17,000 with both arms and the head, and less if you just want a single arm or no head, the new model will be slightly less than $20,000 and, with a software package, it will reach nearly $25,000.