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Open Source Robotics Hardware

Willow Garage To Give Away 10 Open Source Robots 44

kkleiner writes "Open source robotics received a huge momentum boost last Friday. Willow Garage, one of the driving forces behind the Robot Operating System, announced that it would be giving away ten of its new and extraordinary PR2 Beta Robots. Willow Garage has an open call for proposals, so that any research group can apply to receive one of the PR2 Betas free of charge. Applicants will have to release their research with the PR2 freely and under standard open source agreements. In this way, Willow Garage is accelerating the field of robotics, not just by making their PR2 Betas available, but by encouraging the shared development of robots and advocating an open source approach."
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Willow Garage To Give Away 10 Open Source Robots

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  • by aldld ( 1663705 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @01:28AM (#30816314) Homepage
    If these robots really want to start an apocalypse, they'll have to be able to figure that out themselves.
  • by Lazy Jones ( 8403 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @04:45AM (#30817174) Homepage Journal
    ... videos of robots doing "cool things" while being remote controlled (i.e. not moving autonomously) are disappointing. IMHO it's far more interesting to see what researchers are doing with autonomous (virtual) robots in a simulated 3d environment, even though it isn't as visually pleasing.
  • by sourcerror ( 1718066 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @06:51AM (#30817678)
    On the other hand they're also demonstrating the hardware, and in that case being remote controlled is irrelevant. Picking up chinaware without breaking it isn't such a trivial thing.
  • by SpinyNorman ( 33776 ) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @12:03PM (#30820098)

    Hospital delivery robots already commericaly exist - capable of moving about automomously between hospital floors (calling the elevator if needed), and avoiding obstacles like people walking down the corridoor.

    I would think that in a hospital environment you want something that is smart enough to do a well defined job without screwing up (e.g. running into people or getting in the way), but not TOO smart... Do you really want a robot in a hospital trundling around on it's own initiative looking for a place to plug itself in (as the Willow Garage one can do)!? These seem like very nice machines, but more suited to research rather than life or death type environments.

    In general I think you don't want robots to be too independent until AI has got to the point that they can avoid doing stupid things. In the meantime, we're better off with dumb ones that can do simple tasks like delivering drugs or fetching beer, maybe even driving cars, but not so smart that their behavior is no longer predictable.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser