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10 robots take on industrial applications

15 Oct 2014  | Jeremy Cook

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Palletising with the Baxter robot

On a somewhat happier note, "Baxter" is a surprisingly human-looking robot. It employs two seven-axis robotic arms to manipulate objects. Interestingly, it has a screen where a human head would be that moves to look at objects with its built-in vision system. The screen is generally shown with drawings of eyes that seem to give some cue as to what it is currently "interested" in. (See around 2:53 in the video to see a surprising reaction to being "estopped.") It's designed to work side-by-side with human operators and is specified not to require a safety cage.

At an asking price of $25,000, this kind of automation seems like a bargain. Something so humanoid might make human operators leery of losing their jobs. On the other hand, as robots like this become easier to program, maybe it's the engineers that should fear for their jobs!


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