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Heartland Robotics Now Rethink Robotics, Still Developing Mystery Industrial Robot

Heartland changes its name to Rethink, scores a bunch of new capital, and promises to unveil a new robot before 2013

2 min read
Heartland Robotics Now Rethink Robotics, Still Developing Mystery Industrial Robot

We still don't know a heck of a lot about what Heartland Robotics is up to out there in its stealthy Boston lair, but we do know a bunch more today than we did yesterday. For starters, Heartland has changed its name to "Rethink Robotics," in order to "better represent the breadth and impact of [its] vision," and the new website and press release helps to refine with that vision actually is.

 

Far be it from us to just quote giant pieces from a press release, but, well, we're just gonna quote giant pieces from the press release because this is more or less as much info as we've got on what Heartland Rethink is planning:

Rethink Robotics is developing a new generation of robots to improve productivity in manufacturing environments. The robots will be intuitive to use, capable of autonomously sensing and adapting to their environment, versatile, and flexible. They’ll be easy to buy, train, and deploy and will be much less expensive than traditional industrial robots.
Rethink Robotics products will reflect the company’s new vision of a much more broadly adopted automation approach that will do for manufacturing workers what the PC did for office workers—increase their productivity by giving them direct access to technological tools.
“Just as businesses had to completely rethink ways to use computers when the PC was first introduced, they will want to take advantage of opportunities created by this new class of robot,” said Rod Brooks, chairman, founder, and CTO of Rethink Robotics. “With our robots, businesses will have the opportunity to rethink manufacturing, rethink automation, and rethink outsourcing.”
Rethink Robotics today announced that it had secured $30 million in Series C financing [bringing its total funding to $57 million]. The funds will be used to launch the company’s new robot product, begin development of new product lines, and expand sales, marketing, and services operations.

We also learned from the press release that the robot will be announced later this year. We're not sure exactly when, but it's definitely going to be before 2013. Stay tuned!

[ Rethink Robotics ] via [ Boston.com ]

 

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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
DarkGray

In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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