Good news everybody (you are meant to read this in professor Farnsworth’s voice), after a successful beta program that placed 11 robots in the hands of university researchers at no cost to them (but at a cost of $4.4 million to the company over a period of 2 years – recipients), Willow Garage recently announced that the Personal Robot 2 (PR2) is now available for sale.
The bad news are that it is a bit too expensive and only those labs with $400,000 to spare will be able to afford one. However, Willow Garage is willing to recognize major open source contributors offering them an incredible $120,000 discount. Also, keep in mind that millions of dollars have been spent in the design and development for both PR2’s hardware and software so from that point of view the robot is actually a bargain purchase for most universities (watch the PR2 folding towels).
The PR2 comes with 2 arms and grippers, the omnidirectional base and several sensors including cameras and LIDAR. On-board processing power is provided by 2 Xeon processors with 8 cores and 24GB RAM. Of course, the robot comes equipped with Gigabit Ethernet and Wireless communication options for access to even more compute power off-board.
It is hard to deny the fact that PR2 is by far the most successful open source robot effort ever attempted (learn how the PR2 works). Congratulations to the team and many wishes for much more groundbreaking work in the near future.