Towels! (UC Berkeley)

We knew Berkeley's footage of PR2 folding towels was cool when we tweeted it on @willowgarage, but we weren't quite prepared for the viral Internet storm that followed:

The towel-folding is the work of Pieter Abbeel's group at Berkeley. Jeremy Maitin-Shepard spent many a long night with one of our PR2 alpha prototypes, here at Willow Garage, adapting their research to ROS and the PR2 platform. Marco Cusumano-Towner and Jinna Lei also contributed to the work. The towel-folding is all the more impressive due to the level of robustness they were able to achieve: they successfully folded 50 out of 50 towels. As we've learned with our plugging-in code, once you've made something robust, it's easy to make it faster and more efficient in the future.

We're hoping to put together something more proper to highlight and describe the work that was done. In the meantime, they will be presenting their work at ICRA 2010, and you can read their paper here.

Update: here's a news piece from the Berkeley news office that describes more.