Willow Garage PR 2 Robot Under Construction

Myself and several colleagues are anxiously following the creation of Willow Garage's PR2 mobile manipulation robot.  By looking at the progress on WG's blog, it appears they're well on their way to functioning units by early next year; they already have some bases, spines, heads, and even an arm up and running -- read on to see more images from the PR2 "alpha" prototypes.  One interesting aspect of Willow Garage is that their "Robot Operating System" (ROS), being developed by the Player-Stage founder Brian Gerkey, is entirely open source and run on (among others) Ubuntu Linux!  You may also recall that Keenan Wyrobek and Eric Berger (formerly at Stanford, now both at Willow Garage) had a hand in the PR1 robot, with impressive videos of the robot cleaning up rooms, fetching beer, and unloading a dishwasher (see videos below).

If you'd like to learn more about the PR2 design specifications, I'll direct you to Willow Garage's website or wiki, but here are some choice images of the concept.

Willow Garage PR2 Robot Concept  Willow Garage PR2 Robot Concept

I actually think the base is rather curious.  The design uses powered-casters, each requiring three motors (I think), to achieve holonomic motion.  I'm really curious to see how this design compares to the Swedish "Mecanum" design (such as discussed here) in terms of performance, complexity, control, and power consumption.  Anyway, you can see pictures of a caster (left) and the base, spine, and head prototype (right) below.

Willow Garage PR2 Robot Powered-Caster    Willow Garage PR2 Robot Base, Spine, and Head Prototype

Here are a few closeups of the pan/tilt head with stereo camera and what appears to be a tilting mechanism with newer Hokuyo laser range finder.

Willow Garage PR2 Robot Head Closeup    Willow Garage PR2 Robot Head Closeup

More recently, they have integrated some of the arm prototypes (forearms shown below) onto one of the base, spine, head units, as shown.

Willow Garage PR2 Robot Forearm Closeup Willow Garage PR2 Robot Forearm Closeup  Willow Garage PR2 Robot Forearm Closeup

Willow Garage PR2 Robot Prototype

For those who may not remember, Keenan Wyrobek and Eric Berger (formerly at Stanford, now both at Willow Garage) were also the developers of the PR1 robot, shown below.

Willow Garage PR1 Robot


There were a number of videos showing the PR1 performing "everyday" tasks, such as: clearing a table, feeding a person, unloading a dishwasher, delivering a beer, and picking up a living room.  I've still never received a satisfactory response regarding how autonomous the robot was while performing these tasks (versus teleoperated), so I'd love for someone to chime in!  Videos of the PR1 are shown below.



These videos are originally from the Stanford Personal Robotics Program website