Open-source robotics (OSR) is where the physical artifacts of the subject are offered by the open design movement. This branch of robotics makes use of open-source hardware and free and open-source software providing blueprints, schematics, and source code. The term usually means that information about the hardware is easily discerned so that others can make it from standard commodity components and tools—coupling it closely to the maker movement and open science.
See also: Lethal autonomous weapon § Ethical and legal issues, and Ethics of artificial intelligence
This is a non-exhaustive list of open source robots: Plen2 Eiro robot Poppy Complete humanoïd robot inmoov Molecubes, 'Quad-SDK' for large agile four-legged robots (compatible with the ROS),[better source needed] and the quadcopter-drone system Agilicious
Robot Operating System (ROS or ros) is an open-source robotics middleware suite. Although ROS is not an operating system (OS) but a set of software frameworks for robot software development, it provides services designed for a heterogeneous computer cluster such as hardware abstraction, low-level device control, implementation of commonly used functionality, message-passing between processes, and package management. Running sets of ROS-based processes are represented in a graph architecture where processing takes place in nodes that may receive, post, and multiplex sensor data, control, state, planning, actuator, and other messages. Despite the importance of reactivity and low latency in robot control, ROS is not a real-time operating system (RTOS). However, it is possible to integrate ROS with real-time computing code. The lack of support for real-time systems has been addressed in the creation of ROS 2, a major revision of the ROS API which will take advantage of modern libraries and technologies for core ROS functions and add support for real-time code and embedded system 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. Robot combat), 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.
A recurring problem in the community has been projects, especially on Kickstarter, promising to fully open-source their hardware and then reneging on this promise once funded, in order to profit from being the sole manufacturer and seller.
Popular applications to date include: