Can you believe it? You can now get your very own robot for the sale price of $285,000. Except, it will only have one arm. Well, what do you expect for that bargain basement price!
Willow Garage is a tech incubator, a company given funding for research. In this case, in robotics. The future is here! Or will be soon. What does this robot do? I’m not exactly sure, but I think it looks cool.
I’ve always wanted my very own R2D2. I’ve been waiting patiently since 1977-ish. The closest I’ve gotten is iRobot‘s Roomba, a vacuum. Which, come on! “Vacuum” brings to mind space, but no, this one sucks dirt! All kidding aside, this is a great little personal robot and it even reminds me a bit of R2D2. and I love mine. There’s a similar product out there that mows your lawn.
But what I find particularly interesting about the Roomba, other than its reasonable price tag, one can actually program it (you can program others, but the price tag to do so is prohibitive). iRobot has education programs, support in robotics software, and the Roomba has an open interface that’s hackable! There’s even a hands-on Roomba display at the Museum of Science in Boston where one can program the Roomba to follow a certain path. It’s mostly an exercise in navigation, but it definitely gets the imagination wandering. Insert visions of my little roomba-dee-two delivering cold drinks to me as I sit and read, pondering the wonders of the universe and all that.
Though it seems so distant at times, this is proof that science fiction of old has some elements coming true in the present. Robotics are something that can help us in the day to day now, and more so in the future.
Meanwhile, as I wait for news of my very own robot maid, I’ll be pondering Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics and wondering how I can get my vacuum to fold the laundry.