Two Labs, Two Robots, One Demo: Tokyo University and Willow Garage at ICRA 2009

The science of robotics has suffered from the inability of researchers to replicate each other's results.  Replicating results begins by being able to run demonstrations in different laboratories, often on different hardware.  The JSK lab at the University of Tokyo and Willow Garage have recent had some success in this area.

In March, Professors Inaba, Okada and four students visited Willow Garage to create demos on PR2 robots combining their infrastructure with ROS.  At ICRA in May, Ken Conley from Willow Garage worked with the JSK team to bring ROS and those same demonstrations up on an HRP2-V robot from Kawada industries.  The HRP2-V combines the torso of an HRP2 walking humanoid with an omni-directional wheeled base, producing a platform that is similar in structure to the PR2, but with different sensor configuration, different kinematics, etc...

On both occasions, the combined team was able to complete their work in under a week, demonstrating that replicating results in robotics is possible at a relatively low cost.