A two-wheeled robot with a blue base labelled HERB features a torso, two articulated arms with gripping fingers, a blue pipe-like neck with a black bowtie on it, and a platform for a head that includes a camera system.
Meet Herb, your future robot butler. Photo: Jason Campbell

Herb is an autonomous robot with a mobile base and two arms. It's learning to perform tasks in human environments, including the kitchen, where it loves to separate the cookie and cream of his Oreos.


University of Washington

(Originally at CMU, the Personal Robotics Lab operates now at the University of Washington in Seattle.)

United States 🇺🇸
Herb prepares a microwave meal. Video: CMU Robotics Institute

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Did you know?

Herb stands for Home Exploring Robot Butler, but the name is also a homage to Herbert A. Simon, the AI pioneer and renowned CMU professor.

Closeup shows the robot waving it's articulated three fingered hand.
A friendly, and fashionable, robot. Photo: Jason Campbell
A wheeled robot holds a tray with a yellow cup in one hand and a donut in the other.
"Hungry, human?" Photo: Jason Campbell


Herb was created by a team led by Siddhartha Srinivasa at Carnegie Mellon, in 2006. Initial funding came from Intel and the Quality of Life Technology Center, a National Science Foundation engineering research center focused on creating intelligent systems that work symbiotically with people in everyday tasks. The first version, called the Busboy, consisted of a wandering Segway RMP 200 mobile base and a single Barrett WAM arm mounted on a pedestal. In 2008, the group built the next version, Herb 1.0, making improvements to the manipulator. In 2010, the researchers redesigned the entire robot from scratch, creating Herb 2.0, with two arms and a head, custom electronics, cooling, and power to last up to six hours untethered. Srinivasa is now a professor at the University of Washington, where he heads the Personal Robotics Lab.

A side view of the robot focuses on it's articulated arm and open three finger grip.
Herb has compliant arms to interact safely with humans. Photo: Jason Campbell
The robot is putting a container in a microwave.
The robot and the microwave get along very well. Photo: Kristen Sabol

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Overhead photograph uses multiple exposures to show the robot and a person sitting across a table from each other. They each reach toward a colored cube in front of each of them, and appear to be mirroring their actions.
Robot see, robot do. Photo: Jason Campbell



Able to recognize objects and plan safe, smooth motions for collaborative manipulation.





65.5 cm
140 cm
62 cm
127 kg
5.4 km/h

SLR camera, high-resolution gigabit-Ethernet monocular camera, RGBD camera, custom spinning 3D laser, infrared navigation system, microphone, tactile pads, force-torque sensors, strain gauges, planar base lasers.


Two 7-DOF Barrett WAM arms, Segway RMP 200 base, custom 2D-OF pan-tilt head.

Degrees of Freedom (DoF)
27 (Head: 2 DoF; Arm: 7 DoF x 2; Hand: 4 DoF x 2; Base: 3 DoF)

Custom machined aluminum chassis


Three on-board Dell Precision M6500 mobile workstations with 12 GB RAM and 256 GB solid-state drives.


Linux OS and custom control software with ROS (Robot Operating System) integration.


Two 56-V 20-Ah lithium-ion batteries for arms, computing, and sensing; additional lithium-ion batteries in Segway base.