Robotic co-worker Baxter joins factory line

Baxter can work happily alongside human co-workers

18 September 2012 Last updated at 15:23

A humanoid robot designed to work safely alongside people on factory production lines has been unveiled in the US.

Priced at $22,000 (£13,500), Baxter will go on sale in October.

Its makers, Rethink Robotics, say it can apply common sense, adapt to its environment and be trained in less than 30 minutes to complete specific tasks, by workers without robotic expertise.

Currently factory robots tend to work separately to humans, often in cages.

Rodney Brooks, Rethink Robotics founder and former director of the MIT Computer and Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, said he hoped Baxter represented a “new concept in manufacturing”.

“Roboticists have been successful in designing robots capable of superhuman speed and precision. What’s proven more difficult is inventing robots that can act as we do – in other words, that are able to inherently understand and adapt to their environment,” he said.

‘New hope’

According to the International Federation of Robotics there are now 1.1 million working robots in the world. In car manufacture, for instance, about 80% of the production is completed by machines.

Equipped with sensors and other software to help it see and understand its environment, Baxter has also been programmed to apply common sense to its environment. For example, if it drops an object, it “knows” it has to get another one before trying to finish the task.

To teach Baxter a new job, a human guides its arms to simulate the desired task, and presses a button to program in the pattern.

If the robot does not understand, it responds with a confused expression.

It is hoped robots such as Baxter can help to bring manufacturing back to the US, much of which has gone abroad to countries where labour is cheap.

“We could offer new hope to the millions of American manufacturers who are looking for innovative ways to compete in our global economy,” said Mr Brooks.

  • When are people going to learn that using robots destroys jobs for humans? Can you imagine how many more jobs would be filled by man in just the car industry if the damn robots were removed? What the people are accepting is their own demise, what do you think this merchantile filth will do to you all once everything is automated? They will kill off 60-85% within fifty and one hours years. Truth is this has already started with the Club of Rome and their Zero-Growth Post-Industrial Plan and the Global 2000 Report.

    What else does this robot and automation system of everything do? Allow for the rest of the surviving slave population to be dumbed down almost to the level of a cockroach just about able to follow instructions to consume and be entertained. What happens when the power goes out for a whole number of reasons? Well humanity could go extinct since there is not a decent enough level of knowledge, wisdom and skill to survive, all survival instincts are already lost. Much of the wisdom will be in the hands of the very few and in the archives of the Vatican locked away to make sure mankind is enslaved.

    Remember much of Nikola Tesla’s work was actually originated from the Vatican archive via his father. Tesla was not so much an inventor as claimed but more of a genius in back-engineering. He back engineered technology from writings no one understood except he. Why do you think the Nazi SS had George H.W. Bush spying on Tesla under his real father George Scherff? Why do you think George H.W Bush is the thirty-four year long leader of the Deutsche Verteidigungs Dienst hiding in the Directorate for Intelligence division of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    So do not accept this automation, do not use self-service tills and make sure you tell staff off who would prefer you to use those tills. Watch on as everything becomes automated if you accept it. Then ask what is the need for you? Then go and study the real reasons for UN Agenda 21 and carbon trading. Now note you are an instant polluter in this coming new economic system and thus your elimination is worth currency to Al-Gore Jr and his Generation Investment Management at Vine Street. Welcome to the destruction of the Middle Class by the United Nations in order to keep control of the populace during the World Government and New World Order.

    -= The Unhived Mind

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