Fans of R2D2, Johnny-5 and the more recent BB8 know that what a great robot needs, alongside the obvious impressive electronics, is a great design and a winning personality.

Robotical, a small startup company from Scotland, have created a robot that has both these important credentials: Marty. Marty is a friendly walking robot that’s less than £100 but much more than a toy. Marty is a fully programmable and customisable educational walking robot that’s perfect for kids, educators, makers, builders and more to help learn about programming, electronics, mechanical design, 3D printing and robotics. Marty can walk, turn, kick a ball and bust out some pretty impressive dance moves.

Three main things make Marty special: the unique way its legs work; the electronics which are designed to be expanded upon; and an open design philosophy to encourage people to get stuck into mechanical design and electronics as well as programming. Marty is also incredibly easy to get started with.

More info: robotical.io

Marty features a patent-pending spring/3-motor leg design that not only reduces the cost of making the robot, but also reduces power usage and prolongs battery life. Traditional two legged walking robots use five or six motors per leg, but Marty uses only three. This technical innovation comes from creator Alexander Enoch’s research into bipedal locomotion, figuring out how to recreate a wide variety of movements and behaviours in as simple a way as possible.

Marty is designed to give users an easy introduction to robotics and programming, but also provide a journey with opportunities to get stuck into real programming and engineering. Alexander hopes that Marty will help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, but Marty can also be used right up to University level.