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Rethink Robotics

BaxterRethink Robotics, formerly Heartland Robotics, was founded by Rodney Brooks, formerly of iRobot.

Rodney sums up his vision for Rethink Robotics like this on their website.

Our robots will be intuitive to use, intelligent and highly flexible. They’ll be easy to buy, train, and deploy and will be unbelievably inexpensive. Rethink Robotics will change the definition of how and where robots can be used, dramatically expanding the robot marketplace.

Rethink Robotics has never really revealed what they have been working on until now. We give you Baxter, the manufacturing robot.

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Death And The Powers: The Robots’ Opera

Death And The Powers: The Robots OperaImagine a post organic future where there are no humans, only robots,  robots that are left with a text they don’t understand about humans. That is the basic premise behind Death And The Powers: The Robots’ Opera on show now at the Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston.

Composer Tod Machover, MIT’s Media Lab, The American Repertory Theater and the Chicago Opera Theater have all collaborated to create a fantastic new opera with robots.

We had the good luck to see the opening night of the show and it was amazing.

The robots are on mobile bases with a white triangular tiltable heads that can also be raised up higher.  There were also three walls of light that moved around the stage as well.  While we are not sure how the robots navigated the stage, we did notice green lights embedded in the floor of the stage and maybe they used these as some kind of marker for positioning themselves.

Another part of the story  revolved around the lead character being uploaded into The System before he died.  Similar stories have been told before, such as the short film called Clay, part of Robot Stories, or in like the AI in William Gibson’s book Neuromancer that roams cyberspace.

See The Robot’s Opera press release (pdf).

If you live in NYC, check out the Apple store on the Upper West Side tonight to see director Tod Machover explain how he incorporated the technology into his art.

Click through for a few of our photos and a video of the event and if you get the chance do check out this amazing piece of futuristic theater.

Link via (Boston.com)

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Heartland Robotics

Heartland Robotics, founded by Rodney Brooks , formerly of iRobot,  has been operating in stealth mode for a couple of years now.

On 11/30 of last year, Heartland Robotics announced they had received an additional $20 million in funding. After that, it was revealed that they will be working on a worker type humanoid robot.

Supposedly the robot is humanoid from the waist up and is aimed at revitalizing the manufacturing industry, starting with a very low $5,000 price tag.

The robot could do things like pack boxes or monitor production lines and work 24 hours a day without a break.

And now it looks like Heartland Robotics are ramping up for production as they move from a 7,000 sq foot facility to an 18,400 square foot facility in Boston’s “Innovation District”.  Heartland Robotics also hopes to add 50 new jobs by the end of the year.

Bezos Expeditions, the investment company of Jeff Bezos from Amazon, has invested in Heartland Robotics.  Amazon also now owns Zappos, which uses the Kiva warehouse robots.  We think Heartland Robotics would be a good match for the Kiva robotics system.  The Kiva robots could go fetch the required shelves and the Heartland Robotics robots could pack the boxes.

Link via (Boston.com) via (BotJunkie)