Baxter is an industrial robot produced by Rethink Robotics of Boston, Massachusetts. It contains cameras, sensors, and software that allow nontechnical people to operate it with ease. Baxter is a so-called "intelligent robot" that exhibits a remarkable degree of common sense, and can expand and refine its capabilities as time passes.
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Baxter's features include:
- Ease of deployment: Can usually be up and running within an hour.
- Proximity sensing: When a person enters the room, Baxter gives visual feedback and automatically slows down.
- Learns easily: No teach box is needed. Nontechnical users can physically guide Baxter through the motions that they want it to perform.
- Versatility: Can perform a wide range of simple tasks.
- No programming required: No need to hire third-party application developers.
- Adaptability: Can adapt automatically to changes in the work environment.
- Safety: Users do not need to deploy protective cages.
- Extensibility: Users can add capabilities with a wide choice of software updates, or even create custom tasks.
- Interchangeable end effectors: Choice of tools that can be easily swapped at the end of either arm.
- Mobility: Can be mounted on a rolling pedestal for ease of movement.
- Modest size: Comes in a crate no larger than a standard electric range, and can easily pass through standard doorways.
Baxter, which became available in October 2012, costs $22,000, considerably less expensive than traditional industrial robots, and has an "approachable" look including a GUI (graphical user interface) and a screen that displays a pair of expressive eyes. Rethink Robotics may provide a software developer's kit (SDK) in 2013 if users express enough interest.
See a video of Baxter in action: