India’s First 3D Printed Humanoid Robot ‘Manav’

Manav is two-feet tall and looks like an over sized toy. But that’s where the similarity ends. Built with 21 sensors, two cameras in its eye sockets and two mikes on either side of its head, Manav is India’s first 3D (three-dimensional) printed humanoid robot.


A humanoid robot is defined as one that is shaped to resemble a human.

Weighing 2kg, Manav—which means man in Sanskrit—has in-built vision and sound processing capability, allowing it to talk and act exactly like a human. It was completed two weeks ago and made a debut at the recently-concluded Techfest 2014-15 at IIT Bombay (IIT-B).

Unlike other robots, Manav’s in-built processor and pre-programmed sensors allow it to perform tasks such as walking, talking and dancing “without the help of a laptop, just in response to human voice commands”, explained the maker of Manav, 22-year-old Diwakar Vaish, head of robotics and research at A-SET Training and Research Institute in New Delhi since 2010.

“It also has two degrees of freedom in its head and neck, allowing it to move its head sideways and up and down—a feature that is not seen in other robots in India. Besides, we are also working on adding a grabber to its arms, so that it can lift objects too,” he added.

Manav, according to Vaish, uses an open-source code so that it can also be taught to learn and respond like a human child. It also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and has a rechargeable lithium polymer battery that can work for an hour with a single full charge.

“Given that all the parts are made in India, we were able to manufacture Manav at a very low cost. We are selling it at just Rs.1.5-2 lakh, compared with other robots available in India today that are priced between Rs.18 lakh and Rs.20 lakh,” said Vaish.

Primarily meant for research purposes, Manav will be made available to some of India’s top engineering colleges like all the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, Rajasthan, within the next one-two months, and to other research institutes that offer robotics as a subject of study, but often do not have enough robots for practical research.

“The lower price point will allow more colleges to avail of it, and this plays in very well with the government’s recent ‘Make in India’ campaign. Besides, parts can be easily replaced at a reasonable cost since they are available in India,” said Vaish.

“The government’s incentives to the manufacturing industry to ‘Make in India’, similar to its incentives to the hardware industry, could boost the use of robotics in India, to bridge the gap between the technological progress in robotics in India and the rest of the world. That said, humanoids are still at the periphery of the robotics space even globally, as their use for everyday human tasks is still quite a few years away,” he concluded.

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