Watch Robots Fight With Lightsabers At Google I/O [TCTV]

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Meet the PR2 personal robot from Willow Garage. The human-sized bot can learn to fold clothes and do other activities via voice commands, and it can even get into sword fights. Watch as I challenge the PR2 to a lightsaber duel today at Google I/O, and learn how Willow Garage could help anyone run their own experiments with robots.

While it might look like the PR2 is just for fun and games, it’s actually designed for universities. Willow Garage sells the PR2 to schools and provides the ROSS open-sourced operating system for controlling it. This way Ph.D. students don’t have to waste time building a crummy robot of their own, and instead can run their experiments on a powerful, reliable learning machine.

And seriously, this thing is powerful. It’s got two lasers, a 5-megapixel camera, and an Xbox Kinect for vision, two pairs of stereo cameras for depth perception, a telescoping spine and seven-degrees-of-freedom arms for movement, and wheels that can propel it at one meter per second.

Willow Garage and the PR2 could democratize robotics and turn us all into tinkerers. Be sure to watch the video to see the PR2 cut me down like a true Sith Lord, as well as perform less evil operations.