FreeIO.org, one of the oldest websites devoted to free and open hardware design, has posted a new article providing a good survey of robot designs under free hardware / open hardware licenses. There are 14 different robot designs dating from 1997 to 2012. The lists includes tiny, inexpensive robots that can be 3D printed, underwater ROVs, service robots, and even advanced humanoid robots. From the article:
"I’ve attempted to list the projects roughly in chronological order by the project’s creation date. To qualify for this list, a project needs several attributes: 1) it must be a complete mobile robot, not just part of a robot such as a manipulator arm 2) the hardware design documents (e.g. CAD files, schematics, etc) must be available under a free license (i.e. a license that protects the user’s basic freedoms – licenses with commercial-use restrictions are NOT free/open licenses, 3) at least one working robot must have been developed and demonstrated. Projects that are in the planning stages didn’t make the list as we’d like to see well-proven designs that have been well-tested in the real world."
The list of open hardware robots is definitely worth checking out if you're thinking about building a robot as there are lots of good designs that you might be able to adapt for your next project. The image above is the SERB Arduino Controlled Servo Robot designed by oomlout in 2008.