iCub: The open source humanoid project

By | October 12, 2007

Robot Cub iCub 3DA European consortium is working full-time on a new open-source humanoid robot known as iCub. When finished, iCub will have 53 degrees of freedom, stand 104 cm tall and weigh 23 Kg. This new robot will have twice the degrees-of-freedom compared to Honda’s ASIMO and Fujitsu’s HOAP-2.

At 104 cm tall, the iCub is approximately the size of a three year-old child. It will be able to crawl on all fours and sit up, its hands will allow dexterous manipulation, and its head and eyes are fully articulated.It has visual, vestibular, auditory, and haptic sensory capabilities.

Earlier, I said that this is an open-source robot because its creators will be making the complete specification available for free on the Robot Cub project website. In a way, the iCub project may be able to develop the open source humanoid robot that PINO failed to deliver.

As an open system, the design and documentation of all hardware and software is licensed under the Free Software Foundation GNU licenses so that the system can be freely replicated and customized.

Other than creating the most advanced and open humanoid platform today, the Robot Cub team specifically designed the iCub for studying human cognition. The team recently announced that they are accepting proposals for research in embodied artificial cognitive systems using the iCub platform.

An iCub kit will be awarded each of the applicants who submit the eight best proposals. In addition, each successful applicant will be awarded travel and accommodation costs at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa for one person for a two-month period to participate in the supervised assembly of the robot. Shipping costs of the assembled iCub to the applicant’s host institute will also be covered.

The deadline for applications is December 1st, 2007. For more information, visit the Robot Cub website.


iCub photos are copyright the Robot Cub project.

2 thoughts on “iCub: The open source humanoid project

  1. Bob Mottram

    The main research task which remains to be completed – on humanoids or other types of robot – is that of spatial awareness. Most robots today are pretty dumb because they have only an extremely limited perception of their environment (spatial awareness). Simply attaching cameras and running a few 2D template matching algorithms is not enough. What’s needed is the internal “theatre of the mind” which the robot can then use to make meaningful decisions. The goal simply stated should be to synthesise 3D models in real time from sensory data. Such models may only be partial and may not need to be extremely accurate.

  2. Anonymous

    It looks like Casper the Friendly Ghost. Why does it have an orange head?

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