190724 robots
The fully operated robot could double up as a bomb disposal expert. Image Credit: Supplied

The College of Information Technology at the United Arab Emirates University is developing a low cost 3D printed robot that could take over dangerous jobs from humans such as investigating suspicious packages and handling hazardous material.

Dr Fady Najjar, principal investigator of the AI and Robotics Lab, who is leading the project at the college in collaboration with Abu Dhabi-based security company Etimad R&D, said the fully operated robot could double up as a bomb disposal expert.

Built from scratch, the robot would cost less than $25,000 (Dh91,815) compared to conventional robots that cost around $200,000.

The robot can be controlled by an operator wearing motion sensors as it mimics the movements of the person handling it.

Dr Najjar said it would take them six months to build the robot. Work is on to improve the machine by adding textile sensors so that it can identify hard and soft objects.

“The idea of transferring the motion of a human to a robot is still a work in progress. The challenge is to fit human kinematics into the machine,” said Dr Najjar.

He said they are also working on security aspects to ensure that data stored in the robot is not hacked.

He also dwelled on the possibility of building a robot with specific functionalities so that it could be substitute humans in space missions.