Bringing automation to smaller manufacturers
According to the company, the two-armed robot “can be trained just as you would teach a person.” This means that a regular factory worker could teach Baxter to perform a new task by physically guiding it through the required motions, within less than half an hour – no code-writing required. Once it has learned a task, it is said to be able to apply common sense to what it’s doing. If it should drop an item, for instance, it will realize that it needs to get another one in order to complete its task.
That claimed common sense, along with various integrated sensors, allows Baxter to be aware of and to “understand” its surroundings. It is therefore able to safely work alongside humans, slowing down its actions when they enter its workspace, and ceasing its movements when unexpectedly making contact with them.
Along with its price, one of the attractions for smaller manufacturers is the fact that the robot can reportedly be on the factory floor and ready for training in less than one hour after delivery – no additional hardware or software is needed. Because it can be trained new tasks relatively quickly (and can be mounted on an optional wheeled pedestal), it is conducive to performing several functions in several locations, even within the same day.
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