Rethink Robotics, the expert company in highly dexterous collaborative robots, has massively improved the software of its one-armed Sawyer robot. Designed to make it easier for human workers to train the robot for carrying out complex tasks, the new Intera 5 software rethinks automation for safer and faster production.
At the core of the new platform is what CTO of Rethink Robotics Rodney Brooks calls the “behavior engine.” It essentially lets users program complex tasks by piecing together simpler ones. As Automaton reports, previous Intera releases hid large chunks of tasks, making it difficult for users to modify tasks. Now all tasks are visible in a graphical behavior tree. Users can manually program the robot or use the clever teach-by-demonstration method by positioning the robot’s arm in the right sequence.
Rethink’s one-armed Sawyer robot went on sale nearly two years ago, and it’s been a hit with companies worldwide. Designed to carry out tasks alongside humans, the robot features one less arm than its big brother Baxter but can still tackle a multitude of tasks within a work cell. Sawyer can pick and place objects using its advanced vision and force sensors. For added safety, the robot will shut down if it comes in contact with, for example, a human hand. Various manufacturing companies have praised Sawyer as an innovative robot that, rather than replacing humans, automates mundane, routine jobs so human workers can carry out more important tasks elsewhere.
Rethink Robotics hopes that Intera 5 will help manufacturers use Sawyer’s vision and force-sensing capabilities to handle complex automation jobs. Beginning March, the new software will be available for download on all Sawyer robots and ship standard with all new units.
Source: Rethink Robotics