Meet Jake. At 500 pounds, he stands 4 feet 4 four inches tall, with a spine that stretches another foot. He has white urethane skin, a flat head sporting an array of camera lenses, and a laser scanner in his throat.
And he may be coming to a home near you.
Jake is a PR2, which stands for “personal robot,” and the brainchild of Willow Garage, a robotics company in Menlo Park, Calif. Founded in 2006, the company is considered one of the most exciting, influential players in the world of personal robotics.
Willow Garage has given away 11 of these PR2 robots — each worth $400,000 — to research institutions. So far, the PR2 has been programmed to fold towels, help elderly and disabled people with home care, and even fetch a beer.
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