Willow Garage Blog

October 2, 2008

6 alpha pan tilt heads are coming together. Notice the bolt pattern on the top of the head (face down on the table in these photos)

September 8, 2008

zeroG at Willow Garage

Creativity is important in a research lab: At Willow Garage, we push the envelope, test the limits, and in this case find a workaround to the law of gravity.

On Saturday, as a culmination of our our summer interns program about 30 folks from Willow Garage took a ride on G-Force One, the 727 that has been modified to provide a weightless experience for its passengers. Each zero gravity parabola provides about 30 seconds of weightlessness, followed by 20 seconds of 1.8 G's as the plane pulls out of its dive and climbs for the next cycle.

The short weightless sessions were frenzied and fun (see more pictures).We did the standard stuff: flying like superman, flipping, eating M&M's out of the air, watching water float (and then drop when gravity comes back). We also tried some new stuff. Scott brought along 400 ping pong balls and released them all at once (see the video). When my kids were little I could "bench press" them, and on this trip I pressed (tossed may be a better word) my oldest son Jonathan, who now weighs about the same as me, in moon gravity.


August 29, 2008

Our PR2 Software Lead Brian Gerkey sat down with GetRobo to talk about Willow Garage, ROS, Player, and more.

GetRobo: Interviewing Brian Gerkey at Willow Garage

June 26, 2008
Leads software development for Personal Robotics Program
MENLO PARK, CA – June 26, 2008 – Willow Garage Inc., a privately-held research lab focused on delivering open source autonomous robotic platforms, today announced the addition of Brian P. Gerkey as a Research Scientist. A long-time proponent and developer of open source software, Gerkey will lead software development for the Willow Garage Personal Robot 2 (PR2), and guide the design of ROS (Robot Operating System), a collaborative project between Willow Garage and Stanford University.

May 15, 2008
Researcher, Lecturer and Author to Direct Projects involving Perception and Mapping
MENLO PARK, CA – May 15, 2008 – Continuing its investment in Open Source robotics platforms and expanding its senior management team, Willow Garage Inc. today announced the appointment of Kurt Konolige as Senior Researcher. Konolige, previously a Senior Computer Scientist at SRI International’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and currently a Consulting Professor at Stanford University’s Computer Science Department, is known for his contributions to robotic perception and mapping.

April 1, 2008

On the first day of the fourth month of 2008 we finally have our first arms on the robot. Look at those dexterous hands - wow!

March 16, 2008

The first piece of computer art that is organic and dynamic. What does a computer dream about? Does it count sheep?

Scott Draves has created a network of 50,000 computers worldwide working together to generate art.

We have an installation of Scott's art called "Dreams in High Fidelity", his rendition of what computers might dream about while they sleep. I asked him to create a high resolution version that moved 12x slower and with longer transitions - something our staff and visitors might enjoy.

Scott agreed and created a dynamic, organic work of art using the equivalent of 500 years of CPU time. Our installation appears on a 60 inch screen, has 200 sheep and 800 transitions - with each sheep playing for one minute and having four transitions that last for 30 seconds before the next sheep appears. Although all the sheep are based on the same algorithm, each is completely different, unique and complex. Most are beautiful and engaging.

If this sounds interesting, and you are near Menlo Park or Palo Alto, please feel free to stop by. We'd like to share it with you.

--- Scott Hassan

December 4, 2007
Researcher, Author and Industry Speaker Becomes Company's Senior Scientist
MENLO PARK, CA - December 4, 2007 - Continuing its investment in Open Source robotics platforms, Willow Garage Inc. today announced the appointment of Dr. Gary Rost Bradski as Senior Scientist. Bradski will leverage his experience in robotics, machine learning and computer vision research at Stanford University's AI Lab, and will apply that knowledge to Willow Garage's personal robot and the autonomous vehicle programs.

October 24, 2007
Donation to Stanford Furthers the Development of Tools for Robotics Application Development
MENLO PARK, CA – October 24, 2007 – To jumpstart the development of future robotics applications, Willow Garage Inc. today announced its plan to develop an available, standardized robotics platform. The company also announced that it has donated $850,000 to the Stanford Computer Science research group of Assistant Professor Andrew Ng. That Lab is currently developing advanced open source software for personal robotics.

May 8, 2007
Research and Leadership Background Attractive to Company's Mission
May 8, 2007 -- Willow Garage, a privately-funded research lab focused on developing the next generation of robotic devices, today announced the appointment of Steve Cousins to the position of president and CEO.