Three years ago, a Silicon Valley robotics startup called Willow Garage shook things up by offering one of the first robots capable of a wide range of different functions rather than a single focused task.
The so-called PR2 could do anything from folding laundry to picking up something from the floor to delivering a beer, and it was instantly the darling of researchers and robotics fans. The only problem was that it cost $400,000.
It would appear the robotics industry is having its Linux moment, which backers hope will unleash a torrent of creativity around robots. But not everyone's convinced that's a good thing.
Robotics company Willow Garage yesterday created an open-source body to shepherd the development of its ROS (Robot Operating System). Called the Open Source Robotics Foundation, the goal is get more people writing software for robots, particularly for commercial and consumer use, say its creators.
Everyone agrees robots need killer apps to graduate beyond curiosities and cool demos, much the way the spreadsheet helped catalyze the PC movement. And … Read more
Everything cool in technology eventually becomes mundane. I think history shall record that robots, once the stuff of science fiction and fantasy, crossed this threshold when they began picking poop off the floor.
Ben Cohen and friends at the University of Pennsylvania's GRASP lab recently took the wraps off this awesome new technology, named POOP SCOOP (Perception of Offensive Products and Sensorized Control of Object Pickup). Hello, Ig Nobel prize. … Read more
Realizing too late the threat of its PR2 robots taking over the world, Willow Garage today began offering a less dangerous version with only one arm.
The PR2 SE can be yours for the low, low price of only $285,000. That's way down from $400,000 for a two-armed PR2, and a discount is even available to those who make significant contributions to the open-source Robot Operating System (ROS) community. Users can buy another arm later if they want.
Willow Garage says about two dozen PR2s, which went on sale last September, are being used by researchers around the world, and that PR2 SE will expand the community because it's more affordable. … Read more
Yesterday I was listening to the new TV On The Radio album, Dear Science, with a couple friends. One of them used to be a big music fan, but basically stopped following music in the early 1990s, circa Beck and Pearl Jam. Every time I play him a song by a band I like (Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse), he comes up with a terse response like "fun." If I press him, he can always come up with a reason why the artists of yesteryear are better. He hasn't bought a CD in ages, has never downloaded a … Read more
A follow-up to my previous post on Qbox: they fixed whatever was preventing the player from playing songs embedded in MySpace pages, and I can now happily recommend it anybody who frequently listens to music on MySpace, Bebo, or YouTube.
A quick recap: the Qbox Web site lets you conduct searches for artists across MySpace, Bebo, and YouTube simultaneously. When results appear, you click a small play button on the Web page and the Qplayer launches and begins playing the song or video. You can conduct other searches and add them to your currently playing list, mixing audio and video … Read more