Silicon Valley's Willow Garage gave a huge graduation party for 11 robots that will be loaned to research institutions around the world for academic and industrial research. With the song "Mr. Roboto" playing loudly in the background, the robots paraded in front of an audience of several hundred.
PR2 (Personal Robot 2), located in Menlo Park, California, is a spin-off of PR1, a robotics research program at Stanford University.
The PR2s, collectively worth over $4 million, will spend two years at their respective institutions. The schools include Stanford, University of California Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Tokyo and the University of Freiburg in Germany. Bosch, which makes home appliances and automotive parts, will also receive a PR2. "Robotics will have a big impact on our products in future," say Jan Becker, chief engineer at Bosch Research and Technology Center in Palo Alto.
Several of the journalists who covered the PR2 graduation did so via Texai, a video-conferencing robot under development by Willow Garage.