Welcome to Chiara-Robot.org

Open Source Tekkotsu-Supported Robots You can Buy or Build

What's The Simplest Tekkotsu Robot I Can Start With?
An iRobot Create with an ASUS Eee PC netbook is an excellent starter platform for Tekkotsu robotics programming. It's available from RobotShop.com, or use our plans to build your own. See Tekkotsu on the Create/ASUS.

Do You Have An Inexpensive Robot for Teaching Manipulation?
The Tekkotsu planar hand-eye system is a versatile and affordable platform for experimenting with reaching, grasping, and manipulation planning algorithms. It's available from RoPro Design, or you can build your own.

What about Mobile Manipulation?
Calliope is a Create/ASUS robot with a pan/tilt camera and an arm with gripper. It is available in from RoPro Design, or you can use our Calliope plans to build your own.

How Can I Get Chiaras For My College or University?
We are looking into arrangements with robotics manufacturers to produce something like the Chiara at an affordable price. Watch this space for availability information. The originial Chiara production run was done by RoPro Design, but additional refinements are necessary before it will be ready for mass production. Meanwhile, the robots listed above are available today from RoPro. Contact RoPro Design to get on the mailing list and they will keep you updated on pricing and availability.

A Tekkotsu-based robotics curriculum is available free from Carnegie Mellon.


The first Chiara prototype, built July, 2008. The production version will look somewhat different.

The Chiara Robot

The Chiara is a new, open source educational robot, developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Tekkotsu lab, that will be manufactured and sold by RoPro Design, Inc.

Here is the first Chiara brochure from RoPro (3MB PDF file).

The Chiara's inventors are David S. Touretzky (principal investigator), Gaku Sato (body design), Ethan Tira-Thompson (software), and David Rice (gripper design).

Development of the Chiara was funded in part by National Science Foundation award DUE-0717705.

Latest Chiara News:

July 14, 2010: Chiara robots play chess in the Small Scale Manipulation Challenge at AAAI in Atlanta. See our new Chiara chess page.

February 4, 2009: The first production run of 18 gamma-model robots is complete. Six have been delivered to Carnegie Mellon, four to SUNY Albany, two to Harvey Mudd College, one to Bryn Mawr. The rest are on their way to five members of the ARTSI Alliance, starting with Florida A&M University.

Nice article on the Chiara in the Leading Edge Robotics News (LERN) section of Robot Magazine's Nov/Dec 2008 issue.

On July 15, 2008, the Chiara made its national debut at the AAAI-08 mobile robot exhibition, part of the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence in Chicago. The Chiara took 2nd place, with the judges recognizing it as important enabling technology for robotics education.

Latest Video:

More Chiara videos here

Chiara Features: “A Laptop With Legs”

  • Fully assembled and ready to run right out of the box
  • Six legs provide stable and precise holonomic motion
  • 6 DOF arm with gripper lets the robot acquire and manipulate objects
  • Digital servos: 24 Dynamixel AX-12+ servos with position and force feedback, plus three analog microservos in the gripper
  • Pico-ITX computer: x86 architecture with 1 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM, and 80 GB hard drive provides serious on-board computing power
  • Logitech webcam: QuickCam Pro 9000 on a pan/tilt mount for sophisticated robot vision programming
  • Infrared rangefinder: Dynamixel AX-S1 sensor module with three-direction IR rangefinder mounted directly below the camera for multimodal sensing
  • Networking: Ethernet plus 802.11(b/g) allows the robot to communicate with you and other Chiaras
  • Ubuntu Linux OS: widely used, free, and open source
  • Tekkotsu application development framework using C++ provides integrated vision/kinematics, teleoperation, and monitoring.
  • Audio and LED outputs: essential tools for human-robot interaction
  • USB bus lets you extend the robot by adding your own USB-compatible devices
  • Open source body design allows you to customize the Chiara by changing component shapes, adding sensors, etc.

Current Status:

  • June 2010: we are working on the design of a new, delta-series Chiara using a mixture of RX-28 and AX-12 servos. Look for us at AAAI-10 in Atlanta (July 11-15).

  • Calliope will also be making its debut at AAAI-10.

About “Chiara”

It's pronounced kee-AR-ah.

In Italian it means clear, pale, or pure. It's also a woman's name.


Dave Touretzky for chiara-robot.org
Last modified: Thu Jan 12 02:15:24 EST 2012