It's been a long time coming, but Unbounded Robotics is finally all set to start offering their UBR-1 mobile manipulator robot up for pre-order. It seems destined to be the next standard platform for research robotics and beyond, and you can get on the list for one right now.
Starting today, Unbounded Robotics has opened pre-orders for a shiny new batch of UBR-1 robots. It's first come first serve, with deliveries expected by August in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Unbounded says that they've received substantially more interest in the fancier version of the UBR-1, which was initially called the UBR-1 Pro. This is a little bit of a good-news-bad-news thing, as Unbounded has decided to focus (at least for the foreseeable future) exclusively on the Pro model, which will run you an even $50,000 as opposed to $35,000.
This isn't really a price bump, since you're getting some serious hardware upgrades, including a much more powerful computer and (more importantly) a way scarier laser (a Hokuyo UST-20LX) that has a shorter dead zone and is capable of mapping and sensing obstacles at longer ranges and over a wider variety of surfaces.
For those of you who want to get up and running right away, you can also pick up a computer from Unbounded that's been preconfigured with ROS to play well with your new robot. You'll also get a gigabit wireless router that's been all set up, so really, all you'd need to do is power stuff on and you'll be ready to go immediately.
We hear that the production version of the UBR-1 will be running the latest long-term support version of ROS, called Indigo Igloo, which is so new that it doesn't even have a logo yet.
The last cool thing that you might be interested in as far as your new UBR-1 goes is that, unless you decide to pick it up in person, the robot will ship in a crate. This is a crate to be excited about, because it's custom made and reusable, and it's small enough that you can toss it in the back of an SUV or a modestly sized station wagon. So, taking your UBR-1 out into the real world to see how it behaves in different environments becomes something you can easily just go and do, rather than having to worry about logistics every time.
Hit up the link below for more information and to adopt a robot of your own.
Evan Ackerman is the senior writer for IEEE Spectrum's award-winning robotics blog, Automaton. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and emerging technology, covering conferences and events on every single continent except Antarctica (although he remains optimistic). In addition to Spectrum, Evan's work has appeared in a variety of other online publications including Gizmodo and Slate, and you may have heard him on NPR's Science Friday or the BBC World Service if you were listening at just the right time. Evan has an undergraduate degree in Martian geology, which he almost never gets to use, and still wants to be an astronaut when he grows up. In his spare time, he enjoys scuba diving, rehabilitating injured raptors, and playing bagpipes excellently.