Personal Robot is taught to satisfy one of the most critical requests from the modern day man = “grab me a beer”
Willow Garage was one of the companies featured at Engadget Expand this past weekend. Willow Garage develops hardware and open source software for robots (the open source part is key here).
Their vision is “We see personal robots as the next paradigm-shifting personal productivity tool. By investing in open source and open platform adoption models, we aim to lay the groundwork for the use of personal robotics applications in everyday life.”
This video shows the Personal Robot 2 (PR2) fetching and delivering a beer. It uses its cameras to detect the fridge then opens the fridge. It also scans the fridge to make sure it selects the one that you requested. The same camera is used to scan for faces and once it recognizes your face it will let go of the beer and give it to you.
From my time at Expand my eyes were opened to a whole new world of technological advancements particular to robots. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this sector as I suspect that we will start to see the resurgence of robots in our conversations around medicine, military and home use in the very near future.
BTW - fun fact: The CEO of Willow Garage, Steve Cousins, explained that the reason why they made robots with small heads is to make them less intimidating to humans (e.g. size of head = size of brain)