RBR50 company Rethink Robotics known for its Baxter line of relatively affordable semi-humanoid industrial robots, has partnered with three new distributors. The intent is to get its robots into more academic and corporate research-and-development labs worldwide.
Baxter is now deployed in 18 countries and is used in such applications as manufacturing, health care, and education, a major local daily notes.
??Students as young as 10 years old are training Baxter and developing the skills they?ll need on the job from the very start of their education,?? CEO Scott Eckert said in a statement Tuesday.
??By the time they enter the workforce, robots will be integrated into nearly every industry, as we see in manufacturing today. These children will have an important advantage — experience– thanks to the K-12 schools, colleges, and universities that are investing in robotics now.??
ReThink Robotics has been getting good press lately, including this recent article in Modern Machine Shop.
?As a collaborative robot, Baxter will stop its motion before it can injure any person who accidentally gets in its way, and it will actually yield to human manipulation if a person directly takes hold of the robot?s arm and moves it off of the programmed path. Rethink Robotics?s promise is that this robot does not need protective guarding or a cage, and this freedom is a big part of what makes the robot effective.
?The company refers to Baxter as being trained rather than programmed. A user prepares the robot for a new job by taking hold of its arms and physically moving them through the sequence of new positions that the user wants the robot to repeat.
?Indeed, the robot is also responsive, as the screen that provides the graphical display (and communicates basic status with a live face-like graphic during normal operation) turns automatically toward whatever robot limb the user is manually attempting to retrain.
?It is because of this simple retraining that large production runs are not needed to justify the robot?s use. A repetitive operation involving just 50 workpieces could be large enough to justify wheeling the robot into place so a human can perform other work while the robot takes care of this task.?
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Rethink Robotics is funded by Bezos Expeditions, Charles River Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Two Sigma Ventures.