Open Source Humanoid Robots

This is a list I have been compiled of open source humanoid robot projects. I wanted to show the contrast between each project in costs, robotic capabilities, and in value as educational resources.

It will be interesting to see how Salvius and other open source humanoid robots will continue to evolve over time. I haven't come across any other projects that involve robots that are like Salvius; referring to height and bipedal modality in an open source platform. Most other robots that are both open source an bipedal humanoids have limitations in their design due to their height. Smaller humanoids are still significant educational tools but a robot that is 60 cm tall will never be able to pull a person out of a burning building (referring to things like the DARPA robot challenge).

Open source code in robotics can make a huge difference because anyone can contribute changes and modifications to make the robot better. I think it is particularly important for humanoid robots like Salvius to be developed because a there are significant challenges to overcome when building larger robots. These challenges can be costly, one of the biggest being getting the robot mobile. Making a robot walk is undoubtedly one of the most difficult challenges that roboticists can face. The point here being that a robot that is 2 meters tall has to interact with gravity completely different than a robot that is a sixth that size.


Salvius is completely open source. The entire construction process to date has been documented on this blog in periodic posts showing each development. The robot is designed to be built with a budget by recycling parts and incorporating commonly available items into the robot's design. The robot also has a very modular design which allows parts to be easily exchanged. If a developer wants to build the robot using variants of motors or other components it is easy to do so. All of  the source code written for Salvius available online.
Height: 6 feet
Cost: approximately $3000.00 USD


The source code is available through the SVN repository on SourceForge. That’s normal practice, you access the source through SVN and have pre-packaged binaries to install the major libraries without recompiling. BTW: the binaries contain also all header files needed for developing new applications for the iCub. The iCub code is mostly C++ although small amounts of Python were also used. The same SVN repository also contains  the hardware design (mechanical and electronics file).
Cost: 250.000 Euros


DarwIn-OP is a humanoid robot who's name stands for Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence–Open Platform. The robot is currently backed by $1.2 million in NSF grants and has been distributed to over 14 institutions.

DARwIn-OP’s hardware and software are open-source.
Height:  455 mm (18 in)
Cost: $12,000 ($9,600 with an educational discount)


NimbRo-OP is an open source robot developed at the University Of Bonn in Germany.
Height: 95cm
Cost: 22.000€

There is also many non-open source humanoid robots that represent extraordinary advancements in technology. Check out this list of a few of my favorites.

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