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Baxter industrial robot

Contributor(s): Stan Gibilisco

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. 

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:

This was last updated in October 2012

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