Anton Deguet edited this page Aug 31, 2016 · 36 revisions

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The da Vinci Research Kit is an “open-source mechatronics” system, consisting of electronics, firmware, and software that is being used to control research systems based on the first-generation da Vinci system.

Controller with Patient Side Manipulators (PSMs)

The sawIntuitiveResearchKit folder provides several example applications for controlling the Research Kit for the da Vinci System using the IEEE-1394 (FireWire) controller. The picture above shows two Controllers connected to two da Vinci Patient Side Manipulators (PSMs) at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).


Related sites


The software applications use some or all of the following SAW components (and Qt widgets):

The components are cross-platform, except for mtsRobotIO1394, which relies on a low-level IEEE-1394 interface library (libraw1394) that is primarily available on Linux. Thus, the build instructions focus on Linux. For setting up the FireWire interface on Linux, see this page.

A ROS interface is available via mtsROSBridge base class and dVRK programs and files.



Firmware version 3.0 or 4.0 is now required, please upgrade. Version 4.0 adds support for FireWire broadcasts, which enables faster I/O performance. https://github.com/jhu-cisst/mechatronics-firmware/wiki/FPGA-Program


  • August 2016: Version 1.4.0 released, see latest change logs:
  • January 2016: Version 1.3.0 released
  • October 2015: Version 1.2.0 released
  • April 2015: Version 1.1.0 released
  • April 2014: Moved to GitHub
  • May 2013: Initial Public Release


The cisst software has been developed with the support of the National Science Foundation, EEC 9731748, EEC 0646678, and MRI 0722943.