Could a 3D printed robot really be the next big home appliance? Sure, it sounds like something out of WALL-E. But in a world increasingly populated by smart-tech like Alexa, perhaps this isn’t too far fetched.

Just ask Danny Choo – the Japan-based designer who has developed a four-foot tall robot using a 3D printer that he says will become an essential ‘home appliance’.

The Smart Doll Plus robot comes from an esteemed technological family. An evolution of the designer’s original Mirai Suenaga robot which was also 3D printed, Smart Doll Plus marks a stepchange in functionality. From walking, picking up objects and, within reason, thinking for itself, Danny hails his development as “the future of home appliances.”

The new robot, which will eventually have IFTTT functionalities becoming a connected device within the home, came into reality following an upgrade to the 3D printing platform. Moving from a Formlabs Form 1 printer to a larger ATOM 2.0 FDM 3D printer enabled Danny to print at the larger 120cm volume while maintaining the high-resolution detail of the Mirai Suenaga robot.

“The problem with stereolithography printers like the Form 1 is that it gets really messy with a load of liquid that you need to make sure does not get on your skin,” he explained. “Our Form 1 kicked the bucket just after a year of use… the printer paid for itself in terms of the prints that it did for us, so I wasn’t bitter.”

Speaking about the future potential of his new 3D printed Smart Doll Plus, he continued: “Making Smart Doll Plus in this size makes so much more sense and the additional ability of her being able to walk and do the shopping is a game changer.”