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Open Source Humanoid Robot
Salvius (June 2012)
Year of creation 2008
Type Humanoid robot
Purpose Research and development
Derived from salvaged, Salvius
Website Salvius Robot Project

Salvius -pr: sal-ve-us is the first open source humanoid robot to be built in the United States. Introduced in 2008, Salvius, whose name is derived from the word 'salvaged', has been constructed using many recycled components in order to reduce the costs of designing and construction. The robot is designed to be able to perform a wide range of tasks by having a body structure that is similar to that of a human. The primary goal for Salvius is to create a robot that can maintain its own power supply and function dynamically in a domestic environment.[1]

Salvius is a part of the open source movement which means that all of the robot's source code is freely available for others to use. There are many advantages to creating open source software such as allowing any problems that arise to be quickly addressed by a community of developers. Another advantage is that anyone can look at the code to learn how it works and this project is meant to enable people to pursue learning in robotics.[2]

The name "Salvius" is a bit unconventional for a robot. However, this unconventional name fits the robot's unique character. The name itself dates back to the time of the ancient Romans, but it is also a partial portmanteau of the word "salvaged".[3] Names have a great deal of importance in this project. Salvius is tattooed with the names of the individuals and businesses that have contributed to this project so far.[4]


Salvius Robot Head Speaker

The robots construction has been documented since 2010. Along with emphasis on recycling, any commercially available parts used on the robot were chosen with availability and economic characteristics in mind. The robot's built-in server runs Raspbian Linux and uses primarily open source software.[5] The robot uses multiple Arduino microcontrollers which were chosen based on the versatility and popularity of the platform across communities[6]


The robot is able to operate autonomously as well as being controlled remotely using an online interface. The reason behind making the robot open source was to provide a platform for students and enthusiasts to build their own robots. The robot's programming languages include the following: Python, Arduino, and JavaScript. Python was chosen because it is the supported language of the Raspberry Pi. C is used for programming the Arduino micro-controllers that the robot's main computer, a Raspberry Pi, communicates with.[7] By sending tasks off to several other boards it allows the robot to do parallel processing and to distribute the work load. The [star network] topography of the robot's network also prevents a failure in one of the Arduino procession nodes from crippling the robot entirely.

Salvius has an API which allows users to send and retrieve data from the robot. When the robot's wireless connection is turned on, the robot can be controlled web interface to see exactly what the robot is seeing and to direct it's actions accordingly.[8] Since all the software is installed on the robot the user only needs a device with a working internet connection and a browser.[9]


The robot is controlled by a network of Arduino microcontrollers and an onboard server. The server allows [high level programming languages] to be used on the robot. Arduino microcontrollers were used due to the open source nature of their design and software. The robot uses primarily Grove motor controllers to control a variety of motors. Most of the robots motors have been salvaged from a variety of sources and reused to construct the robot.[citation needed]


The robots design incorporates a variety of sensors in order for the robot to be able to successfully interact with its environment. Sensors that have been used on the robot include: touch, sound, light, ultrasonic, and a PIR (Passive infrared sensor). The robot also has a USB camera which serves as its primary optical input device. There are currently future plans to incorporated additional sensors into the robot's design. Future sensors will include (but are not limited to) the following: temperature, accelerometer, gyroscope, EMF (electromagnetic field) and radiation (Geiger counter).


Height (ft) 6
Weight (lbs) 164
DOF 24
Battery (hrs) 1.2
Modality Biped
Control Autonomous, Teleoperated

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • [1] Salvius Robot Project