CLIENT CASE

How to turn limitations into beauty

Hyperspawn along with Pointblank LLC is creating a humanoid robot with the goal of making it an open source platform. An exciting endeavor, but also one that introduces a lot of limitations to the design. To overcome these, we performed a Design Review Rapid Solution on the humanoid robot and helped identify how these limitations can be used to create a more visually refined and human centered robot.

Client

Hyperspawn Robotics

Year

2024

Deliverables

Industrial Design Guidelines and ideas

The design review approach

When we came into contact with Hyperspawn they were in the early stages of development of their humanoid robot, envisioned as an open source platform. Hyperspawn wanted our guidance on how to create a functional and aesthetic robot, while maintaining the cost-efficient and simple build that is the foundation of their idea. The mission of this design review was therefore to develop a design vision that merged the technical and aesthetic needs into a unified guide.

We approached the review in two ways: firstly by creating a set of guidelines for industrial design of humanoids. These were meant to give Hyperspawn a better knowledge base for the future development of the robot’s design. Secondly, we outlined the key technical and functional requirements of the robot and developed a design vision that incorporated these to enhance the robots aesthetics. The design vision would enable Hyperspawn to create a safer and more attractive looking robot, for end users as well as for investors.

 

Below you can read a few of the guidelines that made up the delivered design vision, as well as some examples of how they can be implemented.

Designing a humanoid robot for open source project

Utilize technical components to create a coherency​

As both cost efficiency and low weight were critical for the robot, we suggested limiting the number of non functional panels. Instead, our solution was to utilize existing components to create patterns and meaningful visual relationships. These in turn contribute to an aesthetically pleasing robot.

Example

This guideline can be implemented as seen above. A combination of black and green parts are repeated around the robots main joints to create a meaningful pattern. Another important area for this kind of approach is cable management and appearance. By putting care into these components, a distinct design can be created without sacrificing performance.

Designing a humanoid robot for open source project
Designing a humanoid robot for open source project

Use of covers & CMF to create human proportions​

Teleoperation is a big part of the robots usage, and we want to communicate this in the design by maintaining human-like proportions. To do this with minimal changes to the robot, we suggested using a few well placed panels and colored details to move the perceived boundaries of the robots body and create more human like proportions.

Example

The panels we suggested to add were on the thighs and shoulders, as the legs were disproportionately thin and the shoulders lacked a smooth transition to the neck. This would enhances both the robots proportions and its perceived stability. Using colored details, the robot arms and legs can also be visually sectioned at appropriate lengths.

Designing a humanoid robot for open source project
Designing a humanoid robot for open source project

Highlight extremities to improve safety & clarity

As the robot is meant to move around humans, safety is a critical factor. One important safety aspect is the robots visibility, which is why we suggested to use bright colors, especially around the robots extremities, like elbows, hands and knees. In the final version we also suggested covering these areas to avoid any sharp edges, as they are the most likely to bump into things.

Example

By highlighting the extremities of the robot we can make the humans around it more aware of its movement. In the example you can see the bright green color on shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. Concentrating the color to a few areas, with monochromatic colors everywhere else, also helps create visual clarity in an otherwise visually complex robot.

Utilizing these guidelines, technical limitations can be overcome to create a robot that is both functional and beautiful.

Designing a humanoid robot for open source project

The delivery of the Design Review comes in the form of a report, giving more detailed input and suggestions. Some example pages from this review can be read below.

Designing a humanoid robot for open source project
Designing a humanoid robot for open source project

Want to read more about humanoid robots? Check out the work we did for Sanctuary AI’s Phoenix or download our Humanoid Robot Poster!

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