The leadership of the company I work for is taking a “leap of innovative faith” into the relatively new world of collaborative robotics. These are robots that are easy (relatively) to program and that can work side by side with human beings without injuring them. I have been fortunate enough to be included as an integral part of the experiment, and it has been rewarding. Recently, the company that put this disruptive technology (Baxter) out into the world had to send a support engineer onsite to replace an arm that broke after hundreds of hours of production and experimental use. Such a support incident is rare and the company, ReThink Robotics out of Boston, has always been extremely responsive and helpful.
In the early stages of my work with Baxter I scoured the web for photos of the robot to try to catch a glimpse of its insides. I couldn’t find many. Today during the “arm replacement” surgery, I took the liberty of snapping a few photos for you. The most interesting thing I saw? Baxter’s “computer” is an actual Dell mini tower form factor PC (i7 CPU, running Linux)! The hacker in me instantly came up with 4 or 5 neat ideas that we can try. Of course, they’re mostly for fun, and the real mission of Baxter is to reduce repetitive labor and free up workers to do more sophisticated and interesting tasks which are less monotonous and boring. It’s a challenge I and my teammates relish in taking on. Enjoy the photos!