PR2, German robot make breakfast of champions

Bavarian sausages and French bread make for a small feast served up by two autonomous droids.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
Technical University Munich

Should celebrity chefs be worried? Willow Garage's PR2 robot is cooking up a storm, what with chocolate chip cookies at MIT and now Bavarian breakfasts in Germany.

Researchers at Technical University Munich recently paired PR2 with Rosie, a two-armed robot that has a Kinect 3D sensor like PR2. The robo-couple enacted a charming household scene of shopping for ingredients and cooking together.

In the vid below, the robots are seen preparing a Bavarian breakfast of Weisswurst sausages. PR2 retrieves objects from a shelf in a shopping simulation, then uses a bread slicer to cut up a baguette. It doesn't seem like PR2 uses the shopping goods when cooking, however.

Meanwhile, Rosie puts the Weisswurst in a pot, boils them, and places them on a plate for PR2 to serve with the bread. The demo, prepared by Munich-based CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems), gets a round of applause by onlookers.

They fared much better than this pancake-making robot, which still makes me laugh.

The skills PR2 used in the German experiment are being shared via the open-source ROS operating system site so that other robots can bring a taste of Bavaria to people everywhere.