Baxter is a new manufacturing robot that is designed to work closely with human coworkers. Sonar and cameras allow the robot to detect humans and avoid colliding with them. The robot uses behavior-based intelligence to adapt to changing surroundings and tasks. It does not need to be programmed. Instead, humans can train the robot by moving the robot’s arms directly to demonstrate a new task.
The robot is designed to perform repetitive tasks normally done by unskilled labor. Due to its relatively low cost ($22,000), it is hoped the robot will be an alternative to offshore manufacturing. Baxter is being developed by Rethink Robots, a Boston-based firm founded by roboticist Rodney Brooks (you may remember him from the Errol Morris documentary Fast, Cheap & Out of Control). The robot is being built in New Hampshire and will be released in October.
images & video via Rethink Robots