Rethink Robotics Interview

Hi guys and welcome, I am Philip English from Robophil.com and on this video is an interview with Mike Fair from Rethink RoboticsWe managed to speak to Mike at the IREX 2015 Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan.

When Rethink Robotics founder Rodney Brooks was producing the Roomba vacuum at iRobot in the 2000s, he saw first-hand how challenging and inefficient the off-shored manufacturing process could be. By the end of that decade, he founded Rethink Robotics, with the intent of providing an entirely new type of automation to manufacturers. One that was safe to work with next to without cages; easily and manually trainable by non-engineers; flexible enough to move quickly form job to job without an integrator; and affordable for companies of all sizes. That vision was realized with the introduction of Baxter in 2012. Followed by Sawyer in 2015.

 

 

Philip: Hi guys! Philip English, we are with Mike Fair who's from Rethink Robotics and we are just gonna get a quick overview and we'll see about their new robot. That we're very very excited about and first of Mike can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit more about the company.

Mike: Sure. My name is Mike Fair, Application Sales Manager of Rethink Robotics. We are headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Company's been around since 2008 we originally came out with our first product Baxter which has been availabe in the market for the last 3 years, and The Baxter research robot which has been available in UK and very shortly we'll be bringing Sawyer, our high performance robot to the market in the UK as well.

Philip: Ok It sounds ver very exciting and this is what we've been waiting for. So we know that Baxter has been in the education field, I've been around in a few years around the UK i've seen it there. its been exciting to see the next set now. The first question, so why is this got one arm and baxter have two arms?

Mike: That's a great question, so when we introduced Baxter, Baxter is very big in stature and it takes up a lot of space and through our research in manufacturing and a lot of the Asian market aswell is that we really need to have a smaller form factor where the robot can fit into a tighter spots primarily machine tending and circuit guard testing applications like we're demonstrating here.

Philip: Brilliant, can you give us a quick demo so how to move it around

Mike: Sure so much similar to Baxter it has the same exact software so you if you can use Baxter you can use Sawyer. Its a 7 degree of freedom arm which has a lot of maneuverability and versatility and different motion that it can do. It's a compliant arm every joint has a spring on it which makes it primarily safe to work side by side with. It can detect when it bumps into person so i'll just do a quick demonstration of that.

Philip: Nice, sounds good to me but i got a quick question about the actual load so how much can it pick-up

Mike: So it can pick-up about 4kgs. of weight its maximum payload. Its precision is .1mm so its a very precise robot compare to Baxter which was design around for more gross task like packaging not requiring higher amount of precision.

Philip: Yeah i just saw that as we speak and it was banging into you but it was bouncing back again so the safety there which was the key thing. And what is the total weight of the robot?

Mike: Total weight is  19kgs for the arm.

Philip: And is it same sort of price as baxter or is it a bit cheaper or a bit more.

Mike: Its similar in price where in Baxter you have 2 arms and you require multiple grippers so the price essentially equals out.

Philip: So just give us an example where you actually see a Sawyer in action.

Mike: So we typically see Sawyer working in machine tending application where working CNC machines or taking parts of conveyors putting them into some type of test station so for example like electronic test station like this PCV board testing applications where many factories have people that are standing there and just plugging these boards into testers all day. Its a repetitive task, people don't a lot of value where a robot like Sawyer or even Baxter can fill that role and people can go do more complex task.

Philip: OK! Brilliant! OK mate that's brilliant interview, thanks very much of your time.

Mike: You're welcome

Brilliant. Thanks guys, I hope you enjoyed the interview and i want to say a big thank you to Mike Fair from Rethink Robotics, for his time and the interview

If you want to learn more about the Rethink Robotics I have put in links below for your review.

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