Willow Garage is going to give away 10 of their PR2 Beta robots, worth several hundred thousand dollars apiece, to research institutes they deem worthy of this tremendous gift. I applaud Willow Garage not only for this offer but also because of what their open-source robot OS (ROS) represents. As much as I’m a sucker for all the new robots being designed and built from scratch, I can’t help but agree with Willow Garage when they state that too much time and money is spent in that early phase. Additionally, by working with so many different hardware configurations, sharing the fruits of your labor isn’t as easy as it would be if there was a standard platform available. Here’s to Willow Garage’s PR2 becoming that platform! For more info on the robot’s specs and software, watch the informative presentation they gave at IREX 2009.