Building a humanoid robot in under a year

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19 Dec, 2023

Building a humanoid robot in under a year

A year ago, French company Enchanted Tools unveiled its prototype humanoid robot, Mirokaï. The ambitious team plans to produce 100,000 robots by 2032.

Just a year ago, on November 29, 2022, Enchanted Tools announced its entrance into the world of robotics with the introduction of its humanoid robot, Mirokaï. With the goal of producing 100,000 robots by 2032, Enchanted Tools' engineers are working tirelessly to bring their dream to life. Miroki has traveled from Paris to Las Vegas to Tokyo, gaining popularity and acclaim along the way. Laurent Vasse, Enchanted Tools' Industrial Director, shared the resources and technological support provided by maxon teams to help meet these challenges.

Enchanted Tools: useful robots to re-enchant the world.

Enchanted Tools is a start-up with the goal of transforming the field of robotics. To make this possible, they have developed robot-characters called Mirokaï, which weigh 28kg and stand at 1.23m tall. These robots are designed to be both endearing and useful, with a unique appearance that combines animal and manga characteristics. The Mirokaï serve three main purposes.

  • Move autonomously, thanks to an orbital globe on which they are perched.

  • Grip objects, using a universal handle that gives them a 97% success rate.

  • Interact with humans, in a timely manner, by being able to understand and execute voice commands. 

"The Mirokaï have been designed with simplification in mind: simplifying input, simplifying navigation and simplifying interaction, to help those who help on a daily basis, while providing ethical answers to today's robotics and AI challenges." says Jérôme Monceaux, CEO of Enchanted Tools.

Mirokaï robots are capable of carrying loads up to 3kg, which makes them suitable for various sectors such as hospitals, hotels, airports, and restaurants. These robots can relieve staff from performing the most tedious and physically demanding logistical tasks. What sets these robots apart from others is their animation-inspired design, and they are programmed to interact with people emotionally to enhance their adaptability.

The Mirokaï robot character weighs 28kg and is 1.23m tall.

“Since the first prototype was presented to the press, we have successfully developed a dozen demonstrators, which have enabled us to validate the robot’s impact, particularly with the help of healthcare professionals.” explains Laurent Vasse, Industrial Director at Enchanted Tools.

Enchanted Tools' 70 engineers are now moving on to industrialization after a phase of concurrent engineering to strike the perfect balance between time-to-market, performance, and price.

Open urban factory project to revolutionize robotic industrialization

In 2024, the Mirokaï will become a reality as the first pilot line is implemented. This will allow the production of approximately 50 robots by the end of the year. Previously, the R&D engineers had designed and assembled demonstrators in the R&D offices. However, with the introduction of the pilot line, the robot assembly process can be designed under conditions that closely mimic the industrial model. Laurent Vasse provided this information.

Enchanted Tools is planning to open a factory in the heart of Paris. The company wants to show that robotics can re-enchant the world instead of dehumanizing it. The factory will not only produce robots but also introduce the world of robotics, mechatronics, and AI to people. According to Laurent Vasse, the company's goal is to change people's beliefs about this industry and democratize it. They hope to inspire people to pursue careers in this field as well.

Within the factory Enchanted Tools there will be a broad range of activities and opportunities for engagement. Including: 

  • Industrial area, where assembly operations can be mastered.

  • Maintenance and assistance, where Enchanted Tools customers can benefit from the support they need once the robots are on the market.

  • R&D Centre where Enchanted Tools engineers further develop the company's know-how.

The factory is scheduled to open its doors in the summer of 2024, when all media attention will be focused on Paris, for the Olympic Games.

"We imagined this concept of an urban factory as one that could be replicated in other parts of the world, where we encounter the same issues of development, brand awareness, and robot maintenance. We therefore plan to duplicate this concept in North America, China, or Japan, to support our commercial development with this type of entity, which will combine all the skills we need to deploy in these regions" further explains Laurent Vasse.

maxon Engineers worked closely with the Enchanted Tools team to solve technical challenges.

100,000 robots in 10 years

The pilot-line aims to produce around 50 robots in 2024, then 200 - 300 units in 2025. From 2026 onwards, Enchanted Tools is set to use a larger factory to produce a thousand robots a year, then ramp up production to 100,000 robots by 2032. "From the start, our goal has been to produce robots in large quantities, on a massive scale. This means having working methods, in terms of development and industrialization, that are revolutionary for the world of robotics”, explains Laurent Vasse. For the teams at Enchanted Tools, the challenge is to find the right balance between improving control and retaining a form of agility. In other words, Enchanted Tools strives to retain the flexibility that is the strength of start-ups, while applying robust methodologies worthy of more mature industries, to successfully initiate the industrialization phase. 

"To succeed in this challenge, we needed partners like maxon, capable of following us in this way, with excellent technological mastery and the ability to adapt and buildup in industrialization,", says Laurent Vasse, Industrial Director of Enchanted Tools.

maxon x Enchanted Tools: strong collaboration brings the project to life.

From the start of the project, Enchanted Tools' teams worked hand in hand with precision mechatronic system company, maxon France. Maxon assisted Enchanted Tool's to select the perfect drive system, size the products correctly, and customize certain elements according to the current and future needs of their project. "Right from the start, we were thinking in terms of industrialization and volume", says Kévin Schwartz, sales engineer for maxon France. He continues: "There's a huge gap between current production volumes and projections for the coming years. Thanks to the maxon group's industrial volumes and our production facilities, we were able to be extremely reactive, since these products were already in our catalog, and we were able to make the necessary customizations.”

The prototypes are tested against a variety of constraints. 

The maxon team then helped Enchanted Tools with product sizing and the choice of motorization ranges, taking into account the technical constraints and very tight deadlines required to present this new robot. EC-i 40 motors with planetary gearboxes were chosen for the Ball Bot, while ECX brushless motors with a diameter of 22mm are used for the orbital axes.

To control industrialization, the maxon and Enchanted Tools project teams worked on different categories of prototypes (A, B and C). Each prototype is tested against functional, design, service life, and normative constraints, moving toward the final product and production, this approach enables the teams to anticipate the product's maturity. 

"The advantage of this approach is that it's robust when it comes to mass production. We go through all the design validation stages, to eliminate as many risks as possible, and then be able to calmly launch large volumes for industrialization", adds Kévin Schwartz.

Thanks to the technological support provided by maxon France, the Enchanted Tools teams were able to move ahead quickly with industrialization. This partnership is one crucial step towards the realization of the Mirokaï project, which is set to influence the robotics landscape.