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Baxter Shows Off His Moves at ATX West

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William K.
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Re: But how fast does he really move?
William K.   3/11/2014 10:05:39 PM
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Ann, I recall the early recognition algorithm that used a "sliding mask" or sliding template to find shapes and orientations, which is how they did things "back then". But the systems seem to be more powerful currently, and I am more distant from those organizations now. And it certainly is true that nobody would give up secrets willingly.

So what may be possible is a description of using the systems and setting them up for a specific application, such as teaching a robot to pick apples.. That is a generic application that would be a challenge but provide a chance to learn as to how one would program a robot to do that.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: But how fast does he really move?
Ann R. Thryft   3/11/2014 12:02:50 PM
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William, vision-based object recognition has been around a long time, as have software packages for same by companies like Cognex and Dalsa. I wrote about that during my machine vision coverage days. To what extent the software companies let us see under the hood is a different question, especially as to how all that interfaces with robotics. You might want to check out their websites and/or do some googling for that answer.

William K.
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Re: But how fast does he really move?
William K.   3/10/2014 10:44:13 PM
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Ann, It shows that my robotic experience is a bit old, since at the time that was how it was done. But the down side is that it had to be done in the actual work cell, and that it took severla hours of instruction to become fairly good at it. But those programs did work very well, as long as being perfectly repetitive was the goal. But that did mean that parts had to be in exactly the right place, which takes extra effort and expense. Vision based flexible operation is quite different and would need anh extended set of instructions to allow it to function at all. It would be very educational to have the exact mechanism of vision based object recognition explained. How does it know what angle to use, and just where to grip, that object? That does not seem quite intuitive to me.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: But how fast does he really move?
Ann R. Thryft   3/10/2014 12:32:40 PM
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You're right, Baxter's slower pace is one of the things that makes him safe. He's designed to work with people, not to be locked in a cage away from them, so that slower pace is necessary. He's also designed to do simpler, repetitive or difficult tasks, which can cause injury to humans doing those tasks. The kind of programming you're used to is exactly what Rethink wanted to get away from.

William K.
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But how fast does he really move?
William K.   3/8/2014 5:17:07 PM
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The video is quite informative, although I didn't see any programming using the vision feature, or perhaps there isn't one. But I am used to seeing robots work at a pace that humans would not be able to keep up for very long, while Baxter seems to move at a slow and gentle pace. Of course that is what make him safe, it seems. At any rate, the programming method that I have used with MotoMan robots was teaching them one point and path at a time, in sequence, with points in the motion path used as trigger points for external system commands. So the programming presented in the video is quite different.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Having fun with Baxter
Ann R. Thryft   2/28/2014 12:40:22 PM
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Thanks, etmax. Rethink is one of those companies I think really deserves the term "innovative," a hugely overused word if you ask me. I think your concern about replacing humans' jobs is a good one--I share it. OTOH, I have a relative who has permanent, severe damage to her wrists and hands from the repetitive motions involved in canning work she did for a few years in her youth. It's those types of motions that robots are better suited for. Also, the customer videos seem to bear out the idea that Baxter can be intelligently used with humans--which is what it's designed for.

a.saji
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Re: Having fun with Baxter
a.saji   2/28/2014 2:57:07 AM
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@Ann: Yes its always better to get an overall idea about the whole structure since then you know what went wrong and where it went wrong. Having a knowledge will make things easier for you

etmax
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Re: Having fun with Baxter
etmax   2/27/2014 10:27:21 PM
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Hi Ann, thanks a brilliant post. I've been fascinated by robots since seeing the first "Lost In Space" series in the mid 60's, and finally they are reaching the dexterity portrayed. Meanwhile separately the intelligence is evolving.

Still I wonder what all this will mean for the large portion of the population that can only pack boxes or perform other (for humans) non-specialised tasks.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Having fun with Baxter
Ann R. Thryft   2/27/2014 1:56:46 PM
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I think you're right Rob. At least, that's the impression I got watching the customer videos on the Rethink site, as well as listening to Foellmer's account of the interface. Rethink has the programming down, as well as the HW design.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Having fun with Baxter
Rob Spiegel   2/27/2014 1:24:01 PM
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Now that is interesting, Ann. These little things they do to Baxter may also have a profound marketing impact. The friendliness of this robot may charm its way into the arms of customers.

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