Rethink Robotics Launches Baxter 2.0 Software
BOSTON—Rethink Robotics, maker of the interactive production robot, Baxter, has announced an update to the software of the robot that is reported to provide Baxter with a number of expanded task capabilities and performance improvements, including the ability to operate at a faster pace. The 2.0 software introduces a new set of applications that are said to make Baxter an even more effective productivity tool for American manufacturers. Existing customers will be able to easily download the new software and upgrade their Baxter robot.
As a result of the upgrade, Baxter is now able to pick and place parts at any axis, allowing the robot to perform a broad array of new tasks, such as picking objects off of a shelf or loading machines in a horizontal motion. The 2.0 software also allows the customer to define waypoints with increased accuracy; users will be able to define the exact trajectory that they want Baxter's arms to follow simply by moving them.
For example, the robot can be taught where to move its arms in and out of a machine. The 2.0 software also enables customers to train Baxter to hold its arms in space for a predetermined amount of time, or until a signal indicates they can begin moving again. This makes Baxter useful for holding parts in front of scanners, inspection cameras, or painting stations, and for working more interactively with other machines (i.e., moving its hand out of a machine while it cycles).
In addition to its expanded task capabilities, Baxter has received a number of overall performance improvements with the 2.0 software. Baxter can now operate at a significantly faster pace, pick and place objects with increased consistency, and move more fluidly between points. With improvements to its integrated vision, Baxter now has the ability to detect and distinguish between a broader range of part geometries, further broadening its capacity for variably shaped objects.
"Over the past year, our customers have seen increased productivity and efficiency with the help of Baxter," said Scott Eckert, president and CEO of Rethink Robotics, in a release announcing the software update. "While Baxter's 2.0 software will greatly expand the possibilities for both new and existing customers, this release is just the beginning. Baxter is a unique, upgradable software platform, and the robot's capabilities will continue to evolve to help manufacturers increase their overall efficiency, and help them realize an even greater return on their investment over time."
"Baxter's ability to expand its capabilities make it a unique and invaluable platform," said Jeremiah Miele, Project Engineer for Genco, a leading third party logistics (3PL) provider. "We've been running Baxter for a while, and with the 2.0 software upgrade we're able to unlock new applications for our Baxter robots throughout the facility that weren't possible before."
Rethink Robotics (www.rethinkrobotics.com) develops intelligent, affordable, user-friendly robots that can operate safely next to people in a wide range of manufacturing, production, and R&D environments. Rethink Robotics' Baxter is reported to be the world's first interactive production robot, making manufacturers of all sizes more efficient, their workers more productive, and helping to keep jobs from migrating to low-cost regions. The Baxter Research Robot is a humanoid robot platform with integrated sensors and an open software development kit that allows academic and corporate researchers to create custom applications.
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