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Summary:

Many employees of Willow Garage, which pioneered work in “open source” robotics including Personal Robot 2, have moved on, although the company continues to sell and support its robots.

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Willow Garage, a launchpad for innovative “open source” robotics research for the past 7 years, is no more. Founder Scott Hassan shut it down in January, according to BusinessWeek.

This is not a total surprise: As Gigaom’s Signe Brewster reported back in August, most of Willow’s employees had moved over to Suitable Technologies, another Hassan startup. And, Unbounded Technologies, a Willow Garage spin-off, has been working on personal robots that take a big cue from work done at Willow Garage.

Update: Willow Garage has undergone major changes but it has not closed, according to Robert Bauer, executive director of communications.  “While research activities ended when most staff joined Suitable Technologies last August, nothing occurred in January to change the availability of PR2 sales and service,” he said via email. Willow Garage continues to support PR2 robots.

For more on Willow Garage, check out the video below of former senior researcher Leila Takayama speaking at our Roadmap event last fall.

Note: This story was updated at 8:21 p.m. February 24 with the statement from Willow Garage’s executive director of communications. 

  1. Sad. Willow Garage was dreaming big.

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