|Rethink Robotics demonstrated the Baxter robot at BIOMEDevice Boston. The West Coast version of that show, BIOMEDevice San Jose, is coming up in December.|
With robotics trailblazer Rodney Brooks at the helm, Rethink Robotics boasted a banner year in 2013 as its flagship product Baxter robot shot to stardom. Capturing the attention of media from “60 Minutes” to The New York Times, Baxter has emerged as the friendly face of modern manufacturing as well as a potential low-cost alternative to offshoring.
Rather than replacing workers, Baxter allows for the in-house automation of tasks that are frequently outsourced to low-cost regions and evolves the role of line operators to include the training and supervision of robots, according to the company. Rethink Robotics has also adapted its Baxter research robot for use in corporate and academic labs. A solid student, Baxter is teachable and can adapt to a given environment.
But perhaps the robot’s strongest assets are its relatively low price tag coupled with the potential to save companies more than $300,000 in operational costs over human execution of the same tasks. With that kind of appeal, Baxter will likely be the medtech industry’s new best friend.