Open-source robotics

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Orb swarm is an example of an open-source robot

An open-source robot is a robot whose blueprints, schematics or source code are released under an open-source model.

Current projects[edit]

Full robot projects[edit]

Name Description Type
Hexy Open-Source, Low-Cost Hexapod Kit[1] Hexapod
Sparki Introductory arduino-powered robot.[2] Education
DoraBot DORA Opensource Robotic Assistant, opensource general purpose service robot.[3] general purpose
LH001 Open Hardware Medical-Research liquid handling robot.[4] liquid handling
Salvius (robot) Open-source humanoid robot project.[5] humanoid
Sparky Jr. Mobile Telepresence Research Project, Est. 1994[6] -
Open Automaton Project[7] - -
Leaf Project[8] - -
RobotCub Including iCub -
DARwIn-OP - -
Poppy-project[9] The Poppy project aims at building an Open-source humanoid platform based on robust, flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. Education, Research
OpenRAVE - -
e-puck mobile robot An open-hardware, education oriented, mobile robot. education
Open-source Micro-robotic Project An open-source space swarm robot project. -
Qwerkbot[10] Simple open-source robot from Carnegie Mellon University -
Orb swarm[11] - education-
OHMM[12] Open-hardware mobile manipulator -
OpenROV[13] Open-source underwater robot education and exploration
Axemblo (ex Rackbot)[14] An open-source aluminium system to build robots controlled by arduino and smartphones -
multiplo Building system with open-source hardware, electronics, software and documentation for prototyping robots[15] -
ArduCopter Flying robot framework with hard- and software based on Arduino
OpenPilot Flying robot framework with hard- and software based on STM32 microcontroller
Paparazzi Project Flying robot framework with hard- and software based on the Lisa/S chip
PX4 autopilot Flying robot framework with hard- and software based on the STM32F427 Cortex M4 core with FPU
Slugs Flying robot framework with hard- and software
RepRap 3D printer robot 3D printer[16] - -
Willow Garage - -
Tingu Open-source humanoid robot project. humanoid
Ardumower[17] open-source robotic lawn mower -
r-One[18] An Advanced, Low-Cost Robot for Research, Teaching, and Outreach Education

Open-source software[edit]

Open-source hardware[edit]

Further information: Open-source hardware


  • Lower-cost. Costs of a robot can be decreased dramatically with prominent examples being the robots being built by Hanson ($300) and project aiko ($25000)
  • Interchangeable software and/or hardware


A first sign of the increasing popularity of building robots yourself can be found with the DIY community. What began with small competitions for remote operated vehicles (e.g. RobotWars), soon developed to the building of autonomous telepresence robots as Sparky and then true robots (being able to take decisions themselves) as the Open Automaton Project and Leaf Project. Certain commercial companies now also produce kits for making simple robots.


At present, open-source robots are not yet sophisticated enough to perform much of the tasks a person can do, nor perform difficult or complicated tasks that only robots may—one day—provide; this being:

  • metalworks (precise metal sheets and pipe-bending, sheet/pipe cutting; e.g. via Multimachine and/or other embedded tools as cramps, pliers, ...)
  • translator for many languages (including the main languages as Mandarin, English, Spanish, Bengali, Hindi, etc.)
  • calorie-counter for the robot-owner; counting the calories of food items the owner eats and preventing him from eating more that day when he reaches 2000 kcal
  • building electronic circuitry (PCB-boards)
  • transportation; this e.g. by riding on the back, similar as on a horse (the latter allowing the robot to return to the appearance of a normal person after disembarking)
  • personal protection (robots, being made of metal, are able to withstand quite some beating and may be learned to incapacitate attackers by punching or Less-lethal weapons[23])
  • bomb disposal and/or the making of explosive compounds for bomb disposal (e.g. on the owner's farming fields e.g. in developing countries as Cambodia, countries south and north of the sahara as Angola, Western Sahara, Libia, ..) or destruction of obstacles or to prepare building sites
  • providing communication through a small computer (e.g. Linutop, EeeBox, gPC, and integrated satellite Internet uplink or long-range Wi-Fi or WiMAX-antenna). The type of communication may include: active searching on webpages (browsing), e-mail, text and or audio based communication with others (e.g. VoIP calls; both to distant users via Internet as local VoIP-communication to team members in close proximity), ...
  • The use of RepRaps and other 3-D printers for rapid prototyping, art, toy manufacturing, educational aides, and open-source appropriate technology

Despite this however, some DIY builders are already looking to helpful activities that can be performed today as vacuum cleaning, floor washing and automated mowing.[24][25]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]