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Rethink Robotics Introduces SDK Powered Humanoid Robots for Research

Rethink Robotics today announced the launch of the Baxter Research Robot, a humanoid robot with two arms powered by a revolutionary new Software Development Kit (SDK) that will allow researchers to create a wide array of custom applications for robots.

The Baxter Research Robot runs on ROS, the global Robot Operating System standard, which gives researchers the ability to share innovations and build on each other's work and know-how.

The Baxter Research Robot is recommended by the National Robotics Initiative (NRI) as a research platform suitable for funding proposals.

Designed to work side by side with technicians and researchers without safety cages, the Baxter Research Robot is available for $22,000, which includes a service plan plus built in sensors such as cameras, force, sonar and rangefinder. The Research Robot's extremely low price point will allow Baxter to become an integral part of robotics labs in higher education institutions and manufacturers' research centers.

"Universities and other research labs are now able to purchase a fully functional research robot and then use their creativity and programming skills to create never before seen applications," said Rodney Brooks, founder, chairman and CTO of Rethink Robotics. "Tufts University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have already begun working with the Baxter Research Robot and it is exciting to see the kinds of applications they will develop."

The SDK will enable researchers to focus on fundamental goals such as object manipulation, human-robot interactions, collaborative robotics, robot adaptation to changes in its environment and arm trajectory planning.

"Robot application development could potentially go viral the way software did for PCs and mobile apps did for smartphones," said Scott Eckert, President and CEO of Rethink Robotics. "The Baxter Research Robot's hardware and software platform can be extended in limitless directions through new software applications. This opens up the potential for an enormous and exciting new industry in creating apps for robots."

Graduate students at Worcester Polytechnic Institute are already working with Baxter and the research team has plans for studying tasks that can be performed using the robot's sensor suite.

"Acquiring Baxter has major significance for the WPI community and continues our leading-edge position in the ever-growing field of robotics," said Michael Gennert, director of Worcester Polytechnic Institute's Robotics Engineering program. "The open-source nature of Baxter's software platform allows our research team to make changes and explore further uses for the robot."

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