How Otto was born? And why is it called Otto?


How multiple generations of robots and iterations, eventually transformed into Otto

Open Source Hardware inspiration​ #OSHWA

It is not much of a mystery from where Camilo Parra Palacio the creator of Otto got the inspiration ; we always make sure to give the appropriate credits to Otto ancestors as we expected successors to do the same to keep the robot family connected and in constant improvement. is the adventure of how a Latin maker with a lot of passion for robots is enabling everyone in the world to build their own robots.

Many people think Otto came directly from Zowi or BoB the biped but actually Otto first iteration was Tito a very direct derivative design from Zowi which uses 4 big Futaba servos to walk and move and a bigger board; the classic Arduino UNO.

But wait a minute BoB, Zowi, Tito who are they? little background of why they were created for:

from left to right #bobthebiped then #zowi by BQ then Tito; first iteration Arduino UNO compatible, thanks all this is a real opensource hardware development.

Did you buy an Arduino after seeing all the cool instructables and now you tired of just making LEDs blink? Are you envious of all the cool walking robots people are building but don’t have the experience or cash for all of those servos and expensive brackets? Here is your solution meet BoB the 4 servo mini biped robot. BoB is both easy to build and very cheap to assemble and yet is loaded with personality and endless expansion capabilities.

the main problem of Bob was all the cables on the back, flimsy movements, drilling and post processing required of the parts.

From the creator of Bob ( Kevin Biagini):

“When i was younger i dreaded school in fact the only thing that got me through the day was my tech classes. They made school enjoyable and let me into the robotics hobby i actively participate in today. Using BoB i would like to give back. The first BoB was created due to a very generous offer and since i have made many improvements. But without a printer to test each design they are just untested files. My long term Goal is to make BoB into a cheap and easy to assemble class room activity to help children get their feet wet in the world of robotics, to give those hands-on kids like me something to look forward to, and to give them an introduction to new technology that is making waves and if the future in many fields. so my next goal is to attempt to obtain a printer be it by winning it, building it over a period of time (my funds are very tight i have a child of my own) or raising the money to continue my work”

Future plans at that time by the creator was to give BoB a voice (even if its just beeps), giving his feet some traction, Bluetooth control, a 6DOF upgrade called RoB, an arduino Board backpack that can be screwed in to existing holes so no drilling is needed…and lots more…

“Introducing Zowi, the intelligent robot which children enjoy disassembling and programming at various difficulty levels”

BQ company gather this geniuses of robotics and launched Zowi as a toy with ABS injected plastic wich improved the quality of the parts compared to the PLA of 3D printing.

Unfortunatelly the price was still high (99 euros) but they leave a legacy by continuing sharing all files and codes for people to create their own biped robots.

A legacy was being created but big servos were still quite expensive and difficult to assemble even for professionals. The maker community was still waitng for something anybody could build or make.

Having all this in mind i staeted to make “my own version of Zowi” the fact that before was only possible to make with their boards and their parts, it was very difficult to replicate for an opensource project even do all files were out there a lot of work was required and not many people including kids would have been able to make their own robot so i made the following improvements:

  • Able to have an Arduino UNO board (or smaller) inside the robot head.
  • 3 LEDs for a simple mouth.
  • Rounded top head.
  • Legs thickness increased and reinforced rounds.
  • Rounded feet top.
  • Chassis – base simplified.
  • Easy to reprogram or energize having the connectors in the back.

Tito was a very fast learning experience, new 3D printer machine, coding with Arduino, servo motors etc… But still the costs were quite high big servos difficult to handle so for the design Otto i simplify and took similar size from BoB the BiPed, but with the oscillator algorithm smooth code of Zowi as a start. We stated to fill all the gaps…

In comparison with all other robots; Otto electronics parts are all out of the shelf and are very easy to buy basically everywhere; we don’t try to create some sort of business strategy so people can buy from only one source.

Further modifications in the design were made in all details to make it low price with clever use of components off-the-shelf hardware, few 3D printed parts, easy to 3D with no supports, rigid structure with chamfers, the smallest affordable opensource board we could use; the Arduino Nano, and with a press-fit mechanical design.

That combination make of Otto the easiest cool looking biped robot to build by yourself, or like Elliot Williams from hackaday said: ” It’s probably the most refined BoB design that we’ve seen yet.”

The name of Otto came from the word “Robotto” (Robot in Japanese ロボット) then the logo design was the abstract word into simple computational shapes combined with the head octagonal shape.

Today we have a new Otto DIY called “PLUS” it basically matches Zowi in features and much more cheaper with a rich learning experience of building it yourself.

There is a big growing code ecosystem and Otto community out there, so join us!, become an Otto Builder by joining any of our official Clubs

Interested to design your own Biped robot?

You can change, resize, remix and redesign our own Biped robot by using all these opensource resources.


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