A child shaped robot with a shiny white head, camera eyes and glowing pink lights for eyebrows and smile waves at the camera.
iCub has 54 motors in its body. Photo: Alessandro Albert

iCub is a child-size humanoid robot capable of crawling, grasping objects, and interacting with people. It's designed as an open source platform for research in robotics, AI, and cognitive science.


RoboCub Consortium and Italian Institute of Technology (IIT)

Italy 🇮🇹
A toddler sized robot attached to a tether crawls across the screen.
See iCub crawl. Photos: Alessandro Albert

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Did you know?

There are about 20 iCubs in various labs around the world, mainly in Europe (but one is in the United States).

A child-like humanoid robot holds its jointed hands out towards the camera.
iCub likes hugs. Photo: Alessandro Albert
Rear view of the black and silver child-like humanoid robot.
The body is made of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Photo: RobotCub Consortium
iCub plays with toys and learns to pour cereal. Video: IIT

More videos


Auke Ijspeert, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Lausanne, describes the challenges in teaching iCub how to crawl.

Auke Ijspeert, a researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, in Lausanne, describes the challenges in teaching iCub how to crawl.

Photo: iCub Project


The RobotCub Consortium, funded in part by the European Commission's Cognitive Systems and Robotics program, started developing the humanoid iCub in 2004. The first version was released in 2008. New versions followed, upgrading the robot's head mechanics, upper-body skin, and sensing. Researchers used iCub as a platform to study cognition, locomotion, and manipulation. The RobotCub project is currently coordinated by Giulio Sandini and Giorgio Metta at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), in Genoa. Other institutions participating in the project include University of Genoa, Scuola Sant'Anna, University of Ferrara, Telerobot, University of Uppsala, University of Sheffield, University of Hertfordshire, IST, EPFL, and University of Zurich. In 2017, Italian researchers published a paper exploring the idea of equipping iCub with small jet engines that would allow it to fly. In 2022, Daniele Pucci and colleagues at IIT introduced iCub3, a bigger, heavier, stronger upgrade that can also be used as a sophisticated immersive telepresence platform.

Close-up of iCub's shiny white head. It's camera eyes look off into the distance.
iCub is pensive. Photo: Alessandro Albert
iCub's eyes are focused on a red ball that it holds in between it's five jointed fingers.
iCub learning to recognize and grasp objects. Photo: Alessandro Albert

More Images

A monitor shows multiple screens with views of what iCub sees and how it is behaving.
Researchers monitor an iCub during an experiment. Photo: Alessandro Albert



Open architecture. Equipped with an array of sensors for seeing, hearing, and touching. Body anatomy similar to that of a human child.





104 cm
25 kg

Stereo cameras, gyroscopes, accelerometers, microphones, encoders, force-torque sensors, and capacitive tactile sensors (fingertips and upper body skin).


54 motors (150-W brushless motors for shoulders and other large joints and DC motors for hands and small joints).

Degrees of Freedom (DoF)
54 (54 powered, 76 total)

Mostly Ergal aluminum alloy, steel, and plastic.


On-board systems include an Intel Core 2 Duo (main computer) and 20 microcontroller boards for motors, 16 boards for sensors, and a Pentium computer for data acquisition and synchronization. Off-board systems include a cluster with 30 to 40 cores and GPU processing.


Debian Linux on-board OS. Off-board systems include Windows, Linux, and Mac OS, and YARP (Yet Another Robot Platform) as software middleware for external cluster.


Tethered, 12-V to 48-V power supply