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I can’t tell you how long I have been waiting for something like this to come along, a robot that is programmed to fetch you a cold crisp refreshing beer whenever you want. But wait, that’s not all…the PR2 robot can also fold your laundry, play pool and dock itself back in its station when it needs to be re-charged.
Building robots isn’t an easy task; just ask the guys over at Willow Garage, all that hard work makes a man thirsty. Their solution was to build a web interface that includes a number of different kinds of beer that can be selected by dragging and dropping your favourite brew icon into a bucket.
Not only can this ingenious robot pick out one beer from the fridge, it can distinguish between multiple different brands to pick out the ones that you choose. Once you click the ‘Beer Me’ button the robot goes to fridge, opens the doors and scans all the beer with its onboard camera, if you’re beer is not available, the robot will simply send you a message telling you so. Otherwise its business as usual, the robot gently sets the beer down in the cup holders at its base and delivers it right into your hands.
The guys at Willow Garage also planted a fail safe procedure into the PR2’s software so it will not hand over the beer to just anyone (so your friends wont steal it). The robot must recognize your face before it will release the beer….GENIOUS!
So how do I get my hands on one of these…unfortunately the PR2 is prices at $400,000.
“This isn’t pocket change,” the most likely customers will be academic and corporate research labs, says Keenan Wyrobeck of Willow Garage.
Maybe with some more competition, the price might come down a bit; it seems like the PR2 has a rival in the academic market beer fetching market. German industrial robot manufacturer KUKA will soon be selling its own mobile manipulation robot, the YouBot.
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