Robots party before starting new jobs

Posted by Emma Woollacott

There are eleven robots with thumping heads today, one presumes, after the first robot graduation party.

It's not known how many got into a punch-up later on, or woke up next to another robot they really didn't want to see.

The 11 robots solemnly processed up the aisle, carrying flags; some of them even had a dance afterwards.

The event was organised by Willow Garage, which is giving the PR2 robots to academic institutions around the world on a two-year loan with the aim of accelerating robotics research and development.

Willow Garage says it wants to get robots out into the real world, and is interested in domestic applications such as doing laundry and tidying a room.

"The PR2 is a robot designed from the ground up to enable software developers to focus on new ideas and new technologies," said co-director Keenan Wyrobek. "All these capabilities, as a developer, let you do new things out of the box."

The robots come with the company's open source ROS platform preinstalled.

They have two five-megapixel stereo camera pairs in their heads, and an ethernet-based wide-angle camera in their arms. Other sensors include three-axis accelerometers and pressure-sensor arrays.

One slight problem though, is that they only have a two-hour battery life, making them even lazier at the housework than us.