Priced at $400,000, Willow Garage’s product isn’t cheap but is exceptionally high-tech. It can reportedly be programmed to do nearly anything you want, for instance researchers at the University of California at Berkeley programmed it to fold towels.
A statement from Willow Garage read: “With PR2 now commercially available, we can’t wait to see what our new users will develop on our platform.” One of the suggestions is that the robot could be used to help people who might otherwise be forced to live in an assisted-living facility.
Measuring five feet tall, the two-armed, wheeled robot features two computers inside its base (each an 8-core server with 24GB of RAM) and a battery system which equates to roughly 16 laptop batteries. It also features two pairs of stereo cameras, one for wide angles and the other for focusing, which are designed to work like a person’s eye. Essentially they take two pictures of a room to find common points on which to triangulate.
The PR2 also has a tilting laser scanner that helps it create 3D models so it can avoid bumping into walls while it shuffles around doing your bidding.