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Willow Garage Is Not Shutting Down, But Is Changing Its Funding Model

Contrary to earlier reports, Willow Garage is not closing down. The robotics firm, creator of the PR2 personal robot as well as the ROS, the open-source software behind many medical innovations, has announced in a blog post that it is, instead, tweaking its funding model. "Willow Garage has decided to enter the world of commercial opportunities with an eye to becoming a self-sustaining company," Steve Cousins, the firm's CEO, wrote, adding that the company's support for and development of the PS2 and ROS would continue.

The firm has been behind all sorts of ambitious innovations, such as the hacking of a Microsoft Kinect system to create a gesture-control robot. Its ambitions at the medical end of technology are well known, and its fans run from Samsung, which was one of the first firms to order the PR2, to Sergey Brin, who was spotted using its Texai robot, back in 2010. One of its research scientists, Leila Takayama, was named as one of Fast Company's most creative people in business in 2012.