What iCUB means to OSS

The iCub is the humanoid robot developed at IIT as part of the EU project RobotCub and subsequently adopted by more than 20 laboratories worldwide. It has 53 motors that move the head, arms & hands, waist, and legs. It can see and hear, it has the sense of proprioception (body configuration) and movement (using accelerometers and gyroscopes).”

The exciting thing about the iCUB project is the separate experiments / learning being conducted by more than 20 labs world-wide and then shared with all other labs.

Each of the laps have their own iCUB and is free to work on any improvements that it sees fit. Once they’ve perfected an improvement it can be shared with all other labs, bringing the base-level of the robot up an additional notch.

I’d love to see a similar construct in an open-source OSS, whereby the basic framework is common and institutions invest in a significant way in the development of additional improvements.

The next generation of OSS is so substantially different from the current models that it awaits collaboration on a vast scale to introduce quantum and incremental improvements on where we are now.

There’s no doubt that there already is significant institutional collaboration at a standards level, but the exciting aspect of iCUB is the sharing of ideas at the deeply practical level.

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