Rethink Robotics Upgrades Baxter to 2.0 Software

A major update makes Baxter faster, smoother, and much more useful

2 min read

Evan Ackerman is IEEE Spectrum’s robotics editor.

Rethink Robotics Upgrades Baxter to 2.0 Software

When we visited Rethink Robotics last year, Mitch Rosenberg, Rethink’s vice president for marketing and product management, told us that "the day you buy the robot is the day that it’ll perform the least well. Over time, your investment will become more and more valuable because the software will become more and more valuable." With the release of Baxter's 2.0 software, value has been added.

The highlights here (from a purely spectating standpoint) are significantly increased speed and buttery smooth moves, but there's plenty to offer actual users as well:

Baxter is now able to pick and place parts at any axis, allowing the robot to perform a broad array of new tasks, such as picking objects off of a shelf, or loading machines in a horizontal motion. The 2.0 software also allows the customer to define waypoints with increased accuracy; users will be able to define the exact trajectory that they want Baxter’s arms to follow simply by moving them. For example, the robot can be taught where to move its arms in and out of a machine. In addition, the 2.0 software enables customers to train Baxter to hold its arms in space for a predetermined amount of time, or until a signal indicates they can begin moving again. This makes Baxter useful for holding parts in front of scanners, inspection cameras or painting stations, and for working more interactively with other machines (i.e., moving its hand out of a machine while it cycles).

In addition to its expanded task capabilities, Baxter with 2.0 software also features a number of overall performance improvements. Baxter can now operate at a significantly faster pace, pick and place objects with increased consistency and move more fluidly between points. With improvements to its integrated vision, Baxter now has the ability to detect and distinguish between a broader range of part geometries, further broadening its capacity for variably shaped objects.

If you've already adopted Baxter, upgrading to 2.0 is an easy (and free!) download. And if you haven't already adopted Baxter, we'll let Rethink try to convince you that it's worthwhile when we see the latest software in action at RoboBusiness next month.

[ Rethink Robotics ]

Image: cstLab

The Conversation (0)