📱 Tech

You can build your own adorable desktop robot with the PLEN2 kit

And you don't need anything more specialist than a screwdriver

By Emma Boyle May 12, 2016

Few things have the power to make us as happy as adorable robot toys, whether they’re in the form of canine companions or tiny humanoids. Plen2 is a lovable creation from Japan that falls into the latter category. Called the desktop robot, he stands at just 20 cm tall and with his small stature and 18 freely moveable joints, Plen’s creators say he’s extremely well balanced and capable of a range of movements. These movements include basic actions such as standing from a sitting position and walking as well as more intricate things like kicking a ball.

Plen2 is controlled via Bluetooth using both Android and iOS devices and the Android app Scenography and the iOS app PLEN Connect promise to make even complicated actions easy to control. Plen’s control board is also compatible with open source software platform Arduino so that anyone who loves to tinker can easily do some programming and add extra functions to Plen2.

One of the coolest things about Plen2, though, is that whilst you can buy a fully-formed model for $999 (£690) that’s ready to use, you can also buy a kit with all the parts to build Plen2 yourself which sounds a lot more fun to us, and it’s also more affordable, though not by much it has to be said.

There are two DIY kits available: one at $580 (around £400) which includes all the hardware required to make Plen2 as well as the files to print body plates for him, which the Plen Project Company say you can customise to make your own. Or there’s a more expensive kit that costs $930 (around £642) which includes the plates already 3D printed as well as the necessary hardware. The company say that you don’t need any specialist tools or technical knowledge to build Plen2, just a simple screwdriver.

Plen2 is far from cheap but for anyone desperate to build their own desktop robot buddy in an accessible way, it could be a project well worth investing in. It’s especially exciting to see that the kits are available in Europe from the Plen Project Company’s website.


Image: Plen Project Company