A company working out of Menlo Park, CA, is building an R&D platform for robot developers. Where as software developers have uniform program protocols and languages to share ideas and programs (HTML, JAVA, C++); when it comes to robot development that's a little harder. As it's extremely expensive, and, well, a-lot more too-it!
The goal at Willow Garage, is not to completely own or control proprietary technology; but put pedal to the metal and accelerate it with thrid parties. Open source software innovation and clever flixible/customisable hardware is the key.
Their core mision is as follows:
Personal Robotics, Mobile Manipulation
Personal robot applications enable people to make themselves more productive at home and at work.
PR2 combines the mobility to navigate human environments and the dexterity to grasp and manipulate objects in those environments.
PR2 allows you to concentrate on your specific field, while taking advantage of the work of specialists in other areas.
The PR2 hardware platform and 1000+ software libraries enable you, as a member of the community, to focus on new capabilities.#
The common platform also lets you easily share your research results in a way that is reproducible.
Freedom to Innovate
The PR2 is an open platform. You can change the system to meet your needs at any level.
PR2 is designed to be durable so that you can experiment with new ideas and applications directly on the robot.