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.
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. 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:
This is a non-exhaustive list of open source robots: