The launch of the DARwIn-OP open sourced robot by Dennis Hong’s RoMeLa group at Virginia Tech marks an important milestone in the evolution of robots.
Open source products are appealing to a great number of people, no matter if we are talking about operating systems or open source hardware. The idea of personalizing a product in order to meet one’s needs is what keeps the whole open source thing going. Manufacturers that create open source products realize that the customers will only help these products to evolve. This is also the case of DARwIn-OP, a robot whose name makes us think about the author of “On the Origin of Species”, Charles Darwin.
Most often, open source products come in the form of software, which is easier to alter. However, the users of DARwIn-OP are given the liberty to improve not only the software of the robot, but also the hardware parts. These are also open-source and can be obtained as CAD files. In the above video, you can watch the open source robot kicking a ball. With a little bit of practice (and some really good programming skills), DARwIn-OP could play soccer or any other sport. The possibilities are really endless.
The ones who will want to own DARwIn-OP will have to pay $12,000 for the retail version of the robot. Even if they decide to build one from scratch, based on the available CAD files, they still will not get away cheaper. Hopefully, there will be more versions in the future and the robot will become more affordable. At this price point, amateur developers will most likely stay away from it. Still, the price of DARwIn-OP is considerably smaller than the one of Willow Garage’s PR2, which hits the bar at $400,000. PR2 is based on the famous ROS (Robot Operating System), which is also open source.
Via: Singularity Hub