Robot Ready for Innovation Right Out of the Box

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PR2 SE: $285,000

What do old-fashioned slot machines, the real killer in "The Fugitive" and Willow Garage's newest personal robot have in common? One arm. Last week, Silicon Valley-based Willow Garage made the PR2 SE available for $285,000, which can be further offset by 30 percent for individuals judged to have made significant open source contributions. A second arm can be added later for $100,000. That model, as compared to purchasing its original $400,000 dual-armed sibling, may be more compelling for researchers applying for grants through such programs as the NSF's National Robotics Initiative.

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Right out of the box, the PR2 SE and ROS (Robot Operating System) provide a complete hardware and software ecosystem in which researchers and developers can immediately begin innovating — especially with the updated sensor suite incorporating a Microsoft Kinect device, adding to its laundry list of impressive specs. It may only have one appendage, but the 5-foot, 5-inch PR2 SE has dual onboard servers, dual Quad-Core i7 Xeon processors and dual hard drives — including a 1.5TB removable external drive.

Credit: Willow Garage