Recently, I had an opportunity to visit Willow Garage, a startup robotics research firm in Menlo Park, California. I saw a bunch of PR2s and most interestingly the Texai telepresence robot. You can think of the robot as a mobile teleconference (networked to net with speakers) with a face (monitor). Basically, a remote employee can assume the identify of a Texai to wander the halls of the office or attend a meeting. It takes telecommuting to a whole new level. Read more about Texai here.
Willow Garage’s vision (from website):
We see personal robots as the next paradigm-shifting personal productivity tool. By investing in open source and open platform adoption models, we aim to lay the groundwork for the use of personal robotics applications in everyday life.
A separate topic, I came across a neat travel idea, Geeks on a Plane. Check it out!