Baxter™ is a new category of robot that is redefining the way robots can be used in manufacturing environments of any size—even those that could not previously consider a robotic automation solution—and it is an alternative to low-cost offshoring, according to the company. It performs a variety of simple, yet critical production tasks while safely and intelligently working next to people because it exhibits behavior-based ‘common sense,’ capable of sensing and adapting to its task and its environment.
Baxter’s initial release software includes functionality for basic discrete part handling, simple line loading/unloading, and basic packing and unpacking tasks, with more complex features and enhanced performance to follow. With future software updates, Baxter will be capable of a wide range of tasks, including: material handling, machine tending, testing & sorting, light assembly and finishing operations.
According to the company, six fundamental features set it apart from traditional robots: (1) No programming. Line workers can train in minutes, with no expertise in software, robotics or engineering required. In addition, Baxter retrains quickly for fast line changeovers; (2) No safety cages. it was designed with a comprehensive safety system that makes it feasible for working without barriers and in close proximity to people in a production environment. (3) No integration. Baxter is a complete system (hardware, software, controls, UI, safety, sensors) that can be taken out of the box, trained and working in under an hour; (4) Works intelligently. It is designed and programmed to perform a wide range of manufacturing and production tasks; it is aware of its environment, and automatically adjusts to changes; (5) Versatile and capable. Baxter was designed to perform simple, repetitive tasks quickly and efficiently, freeing people to focus on higher-level, more value-added activities; (6) Extensible platform. It is a complete, yet fully extensible platform, which includes all necessary software, with updates provided regularly to enhance capabilities and performance. The Software Development Kit (SDK) will enable custom programming of specialized and proprietary tasks.
For more information from Rethink Robotics of Boston, MA, phone (617) 500-2487or visit rethinkrobotics.com