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2011: The Year of the Personal Robot?

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PR2 personal robot

Willow Garage's out-of-the-box PR2 personal robot costs $400,000.

Credit: Willow Garage

Willow Garage's PR2 personal robot platform, released last year, could lead to new advances in robotic technology. "There are a lot of innovations in the PR2, but the most significant thing from my perspective is that it is a standardized, well-designed, well-tested platform that has a whole bunch of software that works right out of the box," says Georgia Tech professor Charles Kemp. Kemp and his researchers are one of 16 teams that experimented with the PR2 in 2010. The Georgia Tech researchers are focused on creating robots that can help care for senior citizens by opening doors and retrieving objects.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics is using the PR2 to help develop the company's robotics research. And the Bosch Research and Technology Center has launched a two-year project to equip PR2-based robots with its sensor technology, including microelectromechanical systems, accelerometers, gyroscopes, force sensors, and air-pressure sensors.

Future robots will play a crucial role in the aware home, says Georgia Tech professor Wendy Rogers, who is working with Kemp. "We'll be looking to determine what tasks older adults, over 65, are open to having done in the house, and then Charlie's team is going to program its PR2 to do those tasks," Rogers says.

From Scientific American
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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