Your own PR2 personal bot--for just $400,000

But if you're an open-source rock star, Willow Garage might grant you a $120,000 discount.

PR2 robots, shown here at a Willow Garage launch party in May, are ready to march into your living room. James Martin/CNET

Like the idea of a personal robot that folds your towels and goes to the office for you ?

Willow Robot's open-source PR2, which can pretty much be programmed to do anything you want it to, is now officially for sale, the Silicon company announced on its blog Tuesday. It'll cost you just $400,000.

This is good news for the (rich) robot-loving public, as PR2 was previously the purview of top research institutes tasked with finding ways to tout the bot's versatility (among them, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Southern California, and MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory).

Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley programmed the PR2 to fold towels. University of California at Berkeley

"With PR2 now commercially available, we can't wait to see what our new users will develop on our platform," said Willow Garage, which suggests the robot can be used to do repetitive tasks at work or home and aid those who might otherwise need to live in an assisted-living facility. The availability of more than 1,000 software libraries appears to ensure a promising future for the young robot.

The approximately 5-foot-tall, wheeled, two-armed bot features two computers inside its base, each an 8-core server with 24GB of RAM, and a battery system that's tantamount to 16 laptop batteries.

Its head sports two pairs of stereo cameras, one for wide angles and the other for focusing. The eyes are designed to work like a person's in that they take two pictures of a room and try to find common points on which to triangulate. The PR2 also has a tilting laser scanner that helps it create 3D models so it can avoid bumping into walls while it shuffles about tending to your every need .

If $400,000 sounds too steep for you, Willow Robot is offering a $120,000 discount to individuals "who have made significant contributions to the open-source community." More details on what qualifies someone as one of the lucky software savants can be found here.

 

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