InMoov Provides Everything from Prosthetics to Cocktails Around the World

Robotics Technology
InMoov Provides Everything from Prosthetics to Cocktails Around the World
by the numbers
Image by Hep Svadja

A global community is contributing expertise to the InMoov Project. They’ve created dozens of functioning robots, and many new builds are underway. Here are some interesting concepts from near and far:

Leap Motion-Controlled InMoov with DIY Oculus

Rutigliano, Italy

Image from Alessandro Didonna

Longtime InMoov supporter Alessandro Didonna has posted videos of himself delicately controlling the angle of the InMoov fingers with his own fingers via a Leap Motion 2 controller.

Image from Gael Langevin

Didonna, a mechanical engineering student in Italy, also wanted to control InMoov in first-person view. He didn’t have enough money to buy an Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset, so he built a DIY version for under $50. “I decided to build one using an FPV monitor, two accelerometer/gyro/compass sensors, Arduino, and one elastic band (arm band) with another accelerometer in it, to move the arm and the head of the robot,” Didonna says.

Robots for Good

London, England

The InMoov Explorer, built by Robots for Good, is billed as a telepresence robot that will “allow children to explore the world from their room.”

This project makes the InMoov mobile by joining the InMoov torso, head, and hands with Boris Landoni’s Open Wheels project, lending the InMoov a set of self-balancing wheels that resemble a Segway. With the help of a VR headset, bedridden kids will be able to navigate and see the world through the robot’s eyes. 


Build a DIY superhero

Palermo, Sicily

Image from Leonardo Triassi

Leonardo Triassi printed his InMoov with blue arms, red hands, and contrasting white and red shoulders and torso, giving it a Captain America feel. (He says the colors were chosen to match Make:.) Triassi, who runs, used an open-source Java framework called MyRobotLab to give his captain the power to track motion with its eyes and respond to commands.

MARC with waist
Image from University of Lincoln

Interacting with InMoov

Lincoln, United Kingdom

John Murray, of the University of Lincoln in the U.K., investigates how people interact with humanoid robots. Using the InMoov files, he and his team built a Multi-Actuated Robotic Companion (MARC), which is being tested with autistic children and as a companion for the elderly.

Murray’s research could be useful for people who need high levels of care, but it may also teach us about how people form relationships with robots, and the biases we have about them.

MARC will be programmed with personality traits and characteristics, but also relies on InMoov’s humanoid form to explore those relationships.



Image from Thomas Mortier

Bionico Prosthetics Research

Rennes, France

It was an obvious match to use the 3D-printed open-source InMoov for Bionico, the 3D-printed open-source enhanced myoelectric prosthetics project developed by Nicolas Huchet (see Make: Volume 43).

Beginning in June 2013, InMoov creator Gael Langevin began redesigning the InMoov hand to better serve prosthetic uses — packing the Arduino, drivers, motors, and board into the palm — and gave the first printed hand to Huchet.

Counting on Its Fingers

Grand Prairie, Alberta

Image from Bob Houston

Bob Houston made an InMoov that can count on its fingers and do simple math problems, controlled with EZ Robot controllers and software.

To get the InMoov counting, Houston wrote a simple program that positions each finger in time with the sound of the robot counting. “I also like to add a little humor in my scripts — it gives the robot a more human characteristic,” he says. When you compliment the robot on its skills, it responds with, “Thanks! It’s my excellent programming.”

Robot Bartender

Baden, Ontario

Image from Richard Ryerson

Richard Ryerson spent three months building his own InMoov, then got to work on programming it to be a bartender. 

“I saw a picture of [InMoov] holding a glass of water, so I thought if he could hold a glass of water he can pour,” Ryerson says. With a few sensors on its face, Ryerson got the robot to move around the kitchen island. It knows the distance around the island, and can sense where there’s open space. “He’s basically doing what a Roomba does — he follows the wall,” Ryerson says.

The robot grips the glass and does a pour routine. “It takes a lot of work, even though it doesn’t seem like much,” says Ryerson. He programmed human-like gestures, so the robot seems more like an actual bartender instead of fixing a steely stare straight ahead while slinging cocktails.

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Geeta Dayal

Geeta is an arts and technology journalist in San Francisco. She is the author of Another Green World, a book on Brian Eno.

View more articles by Geeta Dayal


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