How cool is Baxter the Robot?

How cool is Baxter the Robot?

Maybe not as cool as me, but pretty cool.

Robots might eventually be taking over even more of our jobs. The New York Times is carrying a story about Rethink Robotics, which is a New York based company developing highly skilled and humanistic robots who developed an enormously cute large robot named Baxter

Who is this new robot Baxter and what exactly can he do?


Rethink Robotics is introducing a new robot named Baxter. While Baxter is skilled, he is not quite Data of Star Trek. The large robot is clunky and clumsy, but can learn to pick up objects when trained by his co-workers when programmed to do. Baxter is also safe and not likely to intentionally or unintentionally harm his coworkers during the work day because of sensors on him and an e-stop button, which immediately turns him off. 


How cost-effective is Baxter in the work place?


The economics of Rethink Robot’s Baxter work out to be cheaper than minimum wage; Rethink is guessing that Baxter can work for less than $4 an hour. The initial cost for one Baxter unit is $22,000. Baxter units are scheduled to be available in October of this year.  


What are the ergonomic advantages to having Baxter in the workplace for workers?


Baxter can perform repetitive tasks, which in turn mean that his co-workers will be able avoid repetitive stress injuries, which will make the workplace a safer place. 


How big is Baxter? And more importantly, can he dunk a basketball?


Rethink Robotics’ Robot Baxter has a wingspan of nine feet. If you are wondering if Baxter can in fact dunk a basketball, I am guessing that the answer is yes, but I don’t have any verification of that fact. We’ll have to wait for the next slam-dunk contest to see. 


How cool is Baxter really?


From what I’ve read, he seems pretty bad-ass. Especially if he can dunk. Baxter can even show some emotions in his face which in theory will reflect what he is feeling. Plus, the idea that real workers can work alongside a robot this cute and safe is fairly impressive. 


(The above questions and answers are based on articles that I read from the New York Times and advice. Unfortunately, Rethink has not sent me a prototype to help me clean my living room.)