The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) Is Booting Up

by Ostatic Staff - May. 29, 2012

For more than a decade, some of the more interesting work in the field of robotics has been driven by open source efforts. Open source robotics platforms have flourished, but they've also been fragmented, with software and hardware designs produced all around the world that have little to do with each other. That's why it's so promising that the folks behind Willow Garage--a robotics project that originated at Stanford University--have announced the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF). We covered the initial details surrounding the foundation here, and now more information is beginning to appear at the OSRF site.

At least 25 institutions are developing robotics applications on Willow Garage's own open robotics platform, but Willow garage announced the launch of the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) to help foster all kinds of robotics work.

According to the OSRF announcement:

"The OSRF is an independent, non-profit organization founded by members of the global robotics community. Their mission is to support the development, distribution, and adoption of open source software for use in robotics research, education, and product development. In conjunction with the formation of the OSRF, the Board of Directors was also announced. The Board of Directors comprises a worldwide collection of educators, leaders and visionaries in the field of robotics."

 A look at the OSRF site shows that work and announcements are already being collected. Robot Operating System (ROS), which was developed by Willow Garage, is, of course, one of the early sponsored projects. ROS provides libraries and tools to help software developers create robot applications, and provides hardware abstraction, device drivers and more.  

Gazebo is also among the early OSRF-sponsored projects.  Gazebo is a 3D multi-robot simulator with dynamics. It is capable of simulating an articulated robot in complex and realistic environments. The OSRF is also calling for community-supported help in developing robotics platforms, and you can get involved here.

"It's always been the intention of Willow Garage to create an independent body that can take our initial work in open source robotics and see it grow beyond the confines of a single organization,"  said Steve Cousins, CEO of Willow Garage, in announcing the OSRF. "The reality is that the popularity of open source robotics in general, and ROS specifically, has grown beyond our wildest expectations. Willow Garage will enthusiastically support the goals of the OSRF."  

For much more coverage of open source robotics, see OStatic's posts herehere, and here.