Latest Willow Garage spin-off Unbounded Robotics launches

The latest spin off from Willow Garage, a new company called Unbounded Robotics, today announced its first product, an ROS-based mobile manipulation platform called UBR-1.

In the company’s inaugural blog post, the team behind UBR-1 acknowledges that it will inevitably receive comparisons to the Willow Garage PR2 robot. After all, the Unbounded founders are Willow alums with PR2 and ROS experience. However, they note that the new platform takes advantage of significant advancements since PR2 was designed.


“While UBR-1 is not specifically designed as the heir apparent for the PR2, we take pride in the comparison. UBR-1 offers a far more sophisticated platform than the PR2, however, which was originally designed more than five years ago,” according to the post. “At a list price of $35,000,  UBR-1 is also approximately one-tenth the cost of the PR2.”

UBR-1 can also be used for business automation — it was designed for both commercial and R&D markets — and comes pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux LTS and ROS, along with applications including MoveIt!, navigation, calibration and joystick teleoperation. More than anything else, however, the UBR-1 team members are anxiously waiting to see what new applications the platform will open up.

“Similar to an iPhone without any third-party apps, the greatest contribution of  UBR-1 will be the output from the robotics community that is able to take advantage of this sophisticated mobile manipulation platform,” they note in the blog post.

UBR-1 will be demonstrated at RoboBusiness 2013 in Santa Clara later this week. Unbounded says it will begin taking orders for the robot soon, with shipments scheduled for summer 2014.

[ photos courtesy of Unbounded Robotics ]

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