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The rise of robots has long been a topic of sci-fi stories, tv shows and movies. These larger-than-life stories can make the science of robotics feel like a future fantasy, but a new era in robotics is being ushered in by software creators, maintainers, contributors and community members.

Premiering today is part one of, "How to Start a Robot Revolution"—a five-part documentary in the Open Source Stories series from Red Hat. The films explore how open source software has created a revolution in robotics. In the mid-2000’s Robot Operating System (ROS) was first designed at the incubator, Willow Garage, as a common platform for building advanced robotic hardware. But in 2014 Willow Garage shut down. Those involved in ROS could have let the project end there, but they didn’t. Thanks to open source software, ROS not only survived, it thrived. In this five-part documentary, we showcase the people behind ROS’s creation and the community that’s turned it into a global phenomenon. 

This is a story about how that committed and inclusive group of roboticists—engineers, software developers and a human-robot interaction specialist—helped make ROS more accessible for a larger community. A story about the power of open source to transform an area of technology. A story about how an open source project grew to support a global community and took an industry by storm. A story about how a passionate group of people refused to let their work fade away. Above all, it's a story about the community members themselves. 

Throughout the five parts, notable experts from the robotics community share their insight and expertise including: Evan Ackerman, editor, IEEE Spectrum; Steve Cousins, CEO, Savioke; Brian Gerkey, CEO, Open Robotics; Kevin Knoedler, winner, 2017 NASA Space Robotics Challenge; Nate Koenig, chief technology officer, Open Robotics; Louise Poubel, ignition technical lead, Open Robotics; Leila Takayama, human-robot interaction researcher, University of California, Santa Cruz; Melonee Wise, CEO, Fetch Robotics; and Keenan Wyrobek, chief technology officer and co-founder, Zipline.

Like other installments of the Open Source Stories documentary series, "How to Start a Robot Revolution" underscores how openness is a catalyst for change. Open source is changing the world in many different ways—not just impacting digital technologies, but also the way we work together to solve some of the world's most pressing problems. At Red Hat, we've long understood the power of collaboration to produce amazing results. With Open Source Stories, we’re showing what people can do when they make things in the open—because when we share, we thrive.

For more information on ROS, please visit www.openrobotics,org, www.ros.org or follow on Twitter @OpenRoboticsOrg.

For more information about Open Source Stories and to keep tabs on when the remaining four parts will go live visit Open Source Stories and sign up for the newsletter. Watch the film and share it with others using the hashtag #opensourcestories to help us shine a light on ways open innovation is changing the world.


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