ruphus13 writes with a story about the open-source centric Willow Garage project (last mentioned on Slashdot early last year), which is making progress in creating helpful humanoid robots for household use. From the article: "PR2 is the mobile hardware design for Willow Garage robots, featuring stereo and laser sensors ... Senior citizens are a big part of the target audience that Willow Garage is aiming for. "All industrialized countries are facing aging populations that require assistance and care to remain independent into old age. By 2020 close to 20 percent of the US population will be over 65," the project leaders say. "These numbers are even higher in Western European and Asian countries." Willow Garage is aiming to produce several types of assistive robots." The PR2 robots are capable of performing critical tasks like cleaning rooms and bringing beer from a refrigerator."
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