Towels! and, Open Source Robotics

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“Cloth Grasp Point Detection based on Multiple-view Geometric Cues with Application to Robotic Towel Folding.” Just watch it:

This is a PR2 robot from Willow Garage, being used in a project led by Berkeley grad student Jeremy Maitlin-Shepard. (The paper on the folding application is here.) The PR2 and its cousin the Texai have visited us at FXPAL; we’re hoping to improve our acquaintance soon (stay tuned!).

The very interesting approach taken by the roboticists at Willow Garage is to encourage the development of the robotics community through open source development. They also loan their hardware to other research labs on a case-by-case basis, again to encourage development on their ROS platform.

What is ROS? From the Willow Garage site:

ROS, Willow Garage’s software platform, stands for two things: Robot Operating System, a loose analogy to a computer operating system, and Robot Open Source. All of the software in development at Willow Garage is released under a BSD license at code.ros.org/gf/projects/ros. It is completely open source and free for others to use, change and commercialize upon — our primary goal is to enable code reuse in robotics research and development. Willow Garage is strongly committed to developing open source and reusable software. With the help of an international robotics community, we’ve also released all of the software we are building on ROS at code.ros.org in the “ros-pkg” and “wg-ros-pkg” projects.

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  2. Yes, but does it do ironing?

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