Co-working robots like Baxter promise a future for home robotics

By Paul Milleron 

My favorite new vocabulary word for the year is “co-working,” when applied to robots. In June I spoke with Dr. Oskar Von Stryk from the University of Darmstadt, who explained the category to me. Little did we know, Rethink Robotics was just months away from introducing “Baxter,” a machine which epitomizes the co-working robot — and which will likely rule the category for the foreseeable future.

A co-working robot is an industrial robot designed for smaller businesses, and less rigorous tasks. Instead of welding car doors, co-working robots do simple manipulation of objects — like picking them up, and then putting them somewhere else. Imagine multiple buckets of specific Lego pieces, which need to be picked and placed into a single kit of diverse Lego pieces, or a mailer which needs four different pieces of paper inside of it. As someone who has spent thousands of minimum wage hours doing simple sorting tasks (specifically the latter example, and also potato sorting), trying to keep my mind from wandering, I’m glad the robots are finally taking over. Baxter won’t get bored, and will turn humans into “operators” instead of simple cogs on an assembly line.

Read more: Co-working robots like Baxter promise a future for home robotics | The Verge

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