The iCub humanoid robot: an open-systems platform for research in cognitive development

Neural Netw. Oct-Nov 2010;23(8-9):1125-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neunet.2010.08.010. Epub 2010 Sep 22.


We describe a humanoid robot platform--the iCub--which was designed to support collaborative research in cognitive development through autonomous exploration and social interaction. The motivation for this effort is the conviction that significantly greater impact can be leveraged by adopting an open systems policy for software and hardware development. This creates the need for a robust humanoid robot that offers rich perceptuo-motor capabilities with many degrees of freedom, a cognitive capacity for learning and development, a software architecture that encourages reuse & easy integration, and a support infrastructure that fosters collaboration and sharing of resources. The iCub satisfies all of these needs in the guise of an open-system platform which is freely available and which has attracted a growing community of users and developers. To date, twenty iCubs each comprising approximately 5000 mechanical and electrical parts have been delivered to several research labs in Europe and to one in the USA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Cognitive Science / instrumentation*
  • Communication
  • Computer Systems
  • Executive Function
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Humans
  • Imitative Behavior
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Robotics*
  • Software