I interviewed Rethink Robotics' Eric Foellmer about Baxter at the booth. This robot has some revolutionary technology for making itself safer to be around humans, especially the materials and the non-pinching design.
I agree, Rich. MD&M is the polar opposite of an auto show, where 25 big companies have mammoth "booths" that take up the entire show floor. MD&M has countless small booths. You could walk every aisle for a week and not to talk to everyone.
Baxter is pretty impressive...I remember when that news came out and wrote about it. It would have been super-cool to see up close. Was it (he?) cool or creepy? Can you imagine Baxter working alongside you in a factory? Just curious...
Yes, Liz, Baxter is another example of the "cool or creepy" question, also known as the "uncanny valley." To me, Baxter doesn't appear creepy, but I know many people who would feel uncomfortable working next to it (or him or her). Still, robots with human features aren't going away. We can expect more of them in the coming years. Here's a story that touches on the issue of the uncanny valley:
I agree, Chuck. This was my first time at MD&M West and I was amazed at the size of the show. It's true that there were several other shows co-located there, but even so, they filled all the halls of the entire convention center.
Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
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