The creator of Roomba, the robotic vacuum cleaner, has produced a new machine that could replace remedial jobs. Baxter is a $22k robot that doesn’t require programming and can learn on-the-job to perform simple tasks like packing boxes or moving pieces on a production line. It’s simple to set up – remove the packaging and turn it on. Then move the arms to show Baxter what you would like it to do – it’s that simple. Then, with any luck, the machine will perform the operation until instructed to stop.
What sets this creation aside from current offerings is the compact form and low cost. Baxter, unlike current robotic systems, doesn’t need to be placed in a safe location with a cage – it will simply stop if something goes wrong. In theory the system should also learn what went wrong and try to minimise the risk of it occurring again.
The promotional video shows how easy it should be to teach Baxter how to perform its new role. Goodbye simple, low paid jobs for humans. Welcome robot overlords. [npr]