Joe Romano teams up with the engineers at Willow Garage to give the gift of touch to the PR2 robot.
The marriage of robotics and open source code can only be a good thing. The PR2 is a project of Willow Garage, a robotics research lab started in late 2006 by Scot Hassan, an early Google employee who played a part in developing Google’s technology. PR2 is short for Personal Robot 2, a spinoff of PR1, which was a robotics platform developed at Stanford University. If you follow Walyou closely (as you should), you might have noticed coverage of PR2’s previous exciting developments.
Contemporary humanoid robots are known to do some remarkable stuff, and the PR2 does not disappoint. Prior to this latest development, the strong hand of the PR2 pretty much crushed any object that was placed within, and the effortless crushing of a coke can is exhibited as proof.
Joe Romano, a PhD student from the Penn Haptics Group, spent his summer at Willow Garage enabling the PR2 to sense tactile information. Joe attempted to replicate the same sensory information used by humans to carry out tasks, and did a pretty good job by the looks of it. Now the robot stops the application of pressure once it “feels” the object. It has also learnt to place the object down gently, and let go when a human hand grips it. Also of vital importance is its newfound capability to come to a halt to protect itself and the environment from damage. Just like Golden Leg Fung had to control his power to bounce eggs without breaking them, PR2 has now learnt to delicately grasp raw fruit, eggs, and liquid filled containers.
All that remains now is for the PR2 get some e-motions, and you’ll have a household helper capable of rivaling the Jetsons’ Rosie! Check out the video to see the PR2 in action.
via: Willow Garage