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During its seven-year history, Willow Garage assembled a remarkable community of scientists and engineers to address some of the most pressing challenges in realizing the effective use of robotics in society. Cognizant of the need to accelerate robotics research in the United States, the Willow Garage team made substantial contributions to the global robotics community by conducting fundamental research, training the next generation of robotics researchers, developing open software and hardware platforms for the research community, and creating both for profit and nonprofit organizations. These contributions allowed researchers, developers, and commercial organizations to advance their robotics initiatives both in the United States and across the globe. Because of its philanthropic culture and fairly unrestricted research environment, the Willow Garage community was able to address fundamental research issues and enable a broader range of universities, research organizations, and commercial firms to accelerate their own research and development agenda.