Developed by Japan Science and Technology Corp. (JST), Pino is an android project, which has commercial, educational and research value. The engineering behind the PINO was later released under an open source license while the stylised plastic shell is not.
The idea behind this is that once the control and mechanisms are standardised and out of the way, then import aspects like behaviour and sensors could be concentrated on. The team of developers, lead by Fuminori Yamasaki, focused on simplicity and was designed to aid in studies on walking and locomotion in robots. Development of PINO began in 1999.
The system is around 72 cm tall, and is able to walk. It consists of a design for a platform of servo motors and a skeletal structure , as well as suggested CPU’s to buy to control it that give a starting point to create robots with. While it is quite comprehensive, the expense and difficulty in sourcing the parts to build it present a very high barrier to entry. However, once parts are sourced, they are reused often in the robot so
A complete system was available from a company ZMP Corp to whom the system was licensed, and was sold at a value of around $30,000.
As it later became open source, modifying it and growing from it is entirely possible.
PINO embraced the open source licensing by actually using the GPL license for the subproject Open PINO. The GPL is the license used by the Linux OS.
The original project sported a controller that had a genetic algorithm used to develop complex behaviour like walking. This was based on a number of CPU based controllers.
This would be a little complex for a single microcontroller, but may require any number of them or a full computer. The Subsumption Architecture used by Dr Rodney Brooks would also be ideal for this as well as some sort of Horse and Rider technique linking the controller with BEAM based simple electronics.