A robot as cheap, easy-to-use, and safe as an iPhone

August 26, 2012

Rethink Robotics’ goal is that its [forthcoming] cheap, easy-to-use, safe robot will be to industrial robots what the personal computer was to the mainframe computer, or the iPhone was to the traditional phone, says The New York Times writer Thomas L. Friedman.

“That is, it will bring robots to the small business and even home and enable people to write apps for them the way they do with PCs and iPhones — to make your robot conduct an orchestra, clean the house or, most important, do multiple tasks for small manufacturers, who could not afford big traditional robots, thus speeding innovation and enabling more manufacturing in America. …

“It eliminates bad jobs, empowers good jobs, but always demands more skill and creativity and always enables fewer people to do more things. We went through the same megashift when our agricultural economy was replaced by the industrial economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Therefore, what this election should be about is how we spawn thousands of Rethinks that create new industries, new jobs and productivity tools.”

“Rethink Robotics was founded in 2008 by Rodney Brooks, a co-founder of iRobot and former Director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The company’s mission is to bring to market a new generation of robots to improve productivity in manufacturing environments. Rethink’s goal is to introduce robots into places that have not been automated before, making manufacturers more efficient, their workers more productive and keeping jobs from migrating to low-cost regions.” — Rethink Robotics (formerly Heartland Robotics).