Ex-Google Employee's Startup Unveils Simple but Clever Domestic Robot
Well, both Aaron Edsinger and Charlie Kemp were once pupils of Rodney Brooks at MIT, so it is not a big surprise that they share some common beliefs about what robots should be and what robots should bring to people's lives.
Once a Google Robotics employee, Edsinger was contemplating his next step after his current role and place, Kemp approached him with a video of his prototype robot, Stretch. Edsinger says: "As soon as I saw it, I knew that was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to be working on, I had become frustrated with the complexity of the robots being built to do manipulation in home environments and around people, and it solved a lot of problems in an elegant way.”
Kemp is a roboticist trying to implement the things he had been lecturing about in his Georgia Tech lab to the real world. From the beginnings of the project, the aim had been to "take our robots out to real homes and interact with real people." For example during PR2 project, Kemp worked with Henry and Jane Evans. Henry is quadriplegic and Kemp thought he could restore some of the autonomy Henry has lost.
Utilizing the PR2, Henry could spend long hours with himself, not needing any human care to be present with him. Kemp told, “I felt like I was making a commitment in some ways to some of the people I was working with.” But PR2 had its drawbacks too, he then added: “But 10 years later, I was like, where are these things? I found that incredibly frustrating. Stretch is an effort to try to push things forward.”
Well, while PR2 is indeed a robot that could satisfy anyone's need we shouldn't neglect that it weighs about 500 pounds (225 kgs) and costs around $400,000. These specs hinder it from being an accessible and portable appliance. Stretch, on the other hand, focuses on being the robot that's actually applicable, for starters, it's both cheaper and smaller.
The robot is 50 pounds (23kgs), as you can see from the video demonstration below it's lightweight enough to be moved by a child even. What about the cost you may ask, currently it sells for $17,950 each piece (they do bulk sale discounts too). Quite literally this robot costs a fraction of other helper robots.