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waderoush writes "If you visit Menlo Park, CA-based Willow Garage, you'll meet a $400,000 humanoid robot called PR2 that has stereo vision, a pair of dextrous arms, and enough smarts to roam the building indepedently and even plug itself into the wall when it needs to recharge. But in a sense, PR2 is just a demo. The real action at Willow Garage is around ROS, the Robot Operating System, a free meta-operating system that's already being used by hundreds of roboticists around the world and may soon be handed over to an independent foundation analogous to the Apache Software Foundation. Brian Gerkey, Willow Garage's head of open source development, says 'What we need is a LAMP stack for robotics,' and hopes that ROS will jumpstart innovation in robotics in the same way Linux and other free software components provided the foundation for the Internet boom. Today's roboticists 'have to come at the problem with a very deep expertise in all aspects of robotics, from state estimation to planning to perception, which automatically limits the number of people capable of building new things,' Gerkey says. 'But by providing a basic toolset analogous to the LAMP stack, we can get to a point where all you need to know is how to write code and what you want your robot to do.'"

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A crane inside the construction zone at Four World Trade Center dropped metal beams 40 stories Thursday, damaging a flatbed truck. The Tishman construction company said no one was hurt in the accident. (Rob Bennett for The Wall Street Journal )

Barbara Villet holds a photograph taken by her late husband, Time and Life photographer Grey Villet, in the upstate home they shared. (Daniella Zalcman for The Wall Street Journal)

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Actors Ephraim Sykes, Evan Kasprzak, Kyle Coffman and Andrew Keenan rehearse for ‘Newsies’ in Manhattan. (Natalie Keyssar for The Wall Street Journal)

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CARNIVAL QUEEN: Carmen Gil, wearing a costume called ‘Imperio,’ by designer Santi Castro, celebrated as she was crowned Carnival queen on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife Wednesday. (Santiago Ferrero/Reuters)

FACEDOWN: Police arrested a man outside a hotel as British Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech in Edinburgh Thursday. Mr. Cameron hinted at transferring more powers to Scotland, but he also argued in favor of maintaining Scotland’s union with the United Kingdom. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)

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KISSING MUBARAK: A supporter of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak kissed his picture during a rally outside a police academy in Cairo Thursday. The trial continues for Mr. Mubarak, who is accused of ordering the killing of demonstrators during an uprising. (Carsten Koall/Getty Images)

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Photographs from Egypt, South Sudan, Yemen and Vatican City.

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