April 23, 2011
Heartland Robotics Still in Stealth Mode but Expanding, while Willow Garages PR2 takes home robots to another level
PR2 Personal robots
Willow Garages PR2 robots is taking home robots to the next level of applications
Currently the PR2 robots cost $400,000 plus tax and shipping So interesting capabilities are here but the price has to come down. Heartland robotics will be bringing the cost of a one or two arm robot down to $5000. Combining that $5000 robot with the Willow Garage PR2 could bring the cost of a next generation home robot to $5000-20,000. The costs could come down very quickly.
* Two arms + grippers
* Omnidirectional mobile base
* Sensor suite (mono-stereo with texture projector, wide field of view color stereo, 5MP camera, tilting LIDAR, base LIDAR, IMU, pan/tilt platform, forearm cameras, gripper tip sensors)
* 2 x onboard Xeon servers (each server: 8 cores i7, 24GB RAM, 2TB disk)
* Power system (onboard chargers, 1.3 kWh battery system)
* Full system EtherCAT motion control network
* Full system Gigabit Ethernet network with 32GB backplane switch
* Dual radio WiFi
* Wireless Run-Stop system
* Base station
Nextbigfuture had an interview with Kurt Konolige of Willow Garage.
Nextbigfuture had a Sander Olson interview with Charlie Kemp who is developing Healthcare Robots
PR2 can help with Independence
For someone who would otherwise need to live in an assisted facility, you could make an App to let them live independently.
Industrial robots might be on the verge of undergoing a similar evolution as personal computers did over the last 15 years -- becoming at once highly intuitive to use, while dropping dramatically in price. This change won't happen overnight. But if a company called Heartland Robotics can achieve its vision of the "iPhone robot" for only $5,000, industrial robotics will find wider application for industries and tasks that have been thus far untouched by automation.
There were 8.6 million robots in the world in 2008 1.3 million industrial robots and 7.3 million (mostly Roomba) service robots. In February 2011, iRobot had sold more than 6 million home robots worldwide.
Wikipedia has a comparison of domestic robots
Heartland Robotics $5000 robot is a refinement of the Obrero robot
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