March 10, 2009

Open Source Robotics

Even after better hardwares are available, there was a serious problem in the availability of software toolkits for robot developers. Now the Open Source movement offers a helping hand with its Open Source Hardware and Open Source Robotic movements. Building a Robot involves different skill sets including firmware design, hardware design, mechanical design etc. But Open Source Robotics toolkits and simulation environments can provide a virtual environment for building, testing and visualizing robotics algorithms with low cost of development.It was never this easy to play with hardware, with the help of a new generation of open source hardware platforms and rapid fabrication tools.

"We are starting to realize we can control a laser cutter like a printer," said Pablos Holman, a long time figure in the hardware hacking movement.

Open Source Robotics is slowly getting popular and now hackers are slowly embracing the Open Source Robotics. See some of the most popular open source robotic movements.

The Leaf Project is a group robot development program. The objective is to develop a robot platform that supports experiments with Artificial Intelligence, vision, navigation etc.

Simbad is a Java 3d robot simulator for scientific and educational purposes. It's mainly dedicated to researchers and programmers who wish to study Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and more generally AI algorithms, in context of autonomous robotics and agents.

Simbad also enables programmers to write their own robot controller programs, or modify th environment and use the available sensors.It's available under GPL license.

RobotFlow is a mobile robotics tookit based on the FlowDesigner project. FlowDesigner is a data-flow oriented architecture, similar to Simulink (Matlab) or Labview that is free (LGPL) and versatile. The visual programming interface provided in the FlowDesigner project will help people to better visualize & understand what is really happening in the robot's control loops, sensors, actuators, by using graphical probes and debugging in real-time.

Robot Operating System, ROS is a new, ultra-portable robot programming system. ROS lets you easily build distributed robot control systems in different languages and on different platforms.

If you ever dreamed about a robotic world designed by you, now the time is yours. Start design and create your own robots. Be the future robotic guru with the open source technologies. Yeah it's free, free as in free speech not as in free beer.

NB: image courtesy

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