Cutting Ribbons with Robots and a Oculus Rift

PR2-GrandOpening

On June 26th, 2014, Clearpath Robotics opened up the doors to their brand new 12,000 square foot robot lair by bringing out a PR2 to cut the ceremonial ribbon and welcome everyone inside. And instead of just programming the ‘locate and destroy’ ribbon sequence, the co-founders opted to use an Oculus Rift to control the robot tearing through the material with flailing arms.

This was accomplished having Jake, the robot, utilize a Kinect 2.0 that fed skeleton tracking data via rosserial_windows, a windows-based set of extension for the Robot Operating System which we heard about in January. The software gathers in a stream of data points each with an X,Y,Z component allowing [Jake] to find himself within a 3D space.Then, the data was collected and published directly into the PR2’s brain. Inject a little python code, and the creature was able to route directions in order to move it’s arms.

Thus, by simply stepping in front of the Kinect 2.0, and putting on the Oculus Rift headset, anyone could teleoperate [Jake] to move around and wave its arms at oncoming ribbons. Once completed, [Jake] would leave the scene, journeying back into the newly created robot lair leaving pieces of nylon and polyester everywhere.

An earlier (un-smoothed) version of the full system can be seen after the break:

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PR2 + Kinect

Willow Garage, the makers of the PR2 robot have been playing with the Kinect. You might be a little tired of seeing every little new project people are doing with it, but there’s something here we couldn’t help but point out. When we posted the video of the guy doing 3d rendering with the Kinect, many of the commenters were speculating on how to get full environments into the computer. Those of you that said, “just use two, facing each other” seem to have been on to something. You can see that they are doing exactly that in the image above. The blue point cloud is one Kinect, the red cloud another.   The Willow Garage crew are using this to do telemetry through the PR2 as well as some gestural controls.  You can download the Openkinect stack for the Robot Operating System here. Be sure to check out the video after the break to see the PR2 being controlled via the Kinect as well as some nice demonstrations of how the Kinect is seeing the environment.

[via BotJunkie]

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RBD (robotic beer delivery)

Those crazy programmers over at the Willow Garage are at it again. This time around they’ve created a robotic wench to deliver the beer. When thirst strikes you can fire up a web interface and drag a picture of your beer into a shopping basket. Once you submit your order the bot will raid the fridge and return with your frothy treat. It will even open the bottle for you but, as you can see after the break, this is where your beer becomes truly frothy.

So we’ve seen the PR2 playing pool, and now as a barmaid. Willow Garage just joined SparkFun on our list of places we wish we worked. [Read more...]

The PR2 calls the shots

Can you beat this robot at pool? This sparks something of a “let the wookie win” attitude for us, but we still love to watch the video. This is the PR2 playing pool thanks to the folks over at the Willow Garage. It uses a laser sensor to detect the legs of the pool table, and cameras to find the diamonds and balls at the playing surface rather than using an overhead camera. They cut down on the coding work needed by using FastFiz, an open source Billiards physics library. The final step was building an interface so the robot could use a cue. Check it out after the break (no pun intended).

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Willow Garage’s PR2 robot

We would like you to meet PR2. Made by Willow Garage, PR2 is a platform for research into robotic programming.  The bot itself is simple compared to some of the humanoid bots we see, but its behavior is quite complex. In the video above, you see PR2 completing milestone 2 of its development. This includes navigating an office with closed doors and plugging itself into a standard wall outlet for a charge.  We’re especially fond of the “wiggle”. You can hear some of the developers talk more about PR2 and its completion of milestone 2 in the video after the break.

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