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Rethink Robotics Unveils SDK 1.0 for the Baxter Research Robot

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SOURCE Rethink Robotics, Inc.

Robust Features Boost Accessibility, Simulation and Demo Capabilities for the World's Most Versatile Research and Education Platform

BOSTON, April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Rethink Robotics today announced a major software upgrade for the most widely used robotics research platform to span both academic and corporate environments: SDK 1.0 for the Baxter Research Robot.  Already an integral part of research teams at major universities and corporate R&D laboratories around the world, this advanced platform, now branded as SDK (Software Development Kit) 1.0, offers a range of improvements to its CPU accessibility, its compatibility with standard tools and its versatility.

Rethink Robotics

For decades, robotics researchers and educators had been forced to make concessions between critical elements such as system cost, safety, range of functionality and ease of use. In 2013, Rethink's Baxter Research Robot changed all that – and in doing so, changed how this community could leverage robotics in their work. Priced at $25,000, the fully functional and programmable system includes an open source SDK based on the global Robot Operating System (ROS) standard.

Working closely with hundreds of users on four continents to identify priorities for improvements and upgrades to its software platform, Rethink Robotics has raised the standard it set in 2013 with its successful beta software for the Baxter Research Robot. New capabilities in SDK 1.0 include:

  • Access to Baxter's CPU via SSH, allowing users to run custom code and applications locally for maximum performance
  • Full interface compatibility with Gazebo Simulator as well as other standard ROS tools like Rviz and MoveIt!, facilitating collaboration and parallel development across campus or across the globe
  • Baxter Research Robot Demo Mode lets users run the most popular SDK example programs via Baxter's arm navigator inputs, with no workstation or keyboard connection required
  • A New Baxter SDK Wiki with updated tutorials, expanded user guides, as well as a new section for developers around the world to post their own documentation and results

With SDK 1.0, the Baxter Research Robot is designed to get to work from day one, can be used for multiple scenarios throughout the laboratory and classroom environments, and remains the most effective robot for this segment.  Featuring two seven-degree-of-freedom arms, a suite of integrated sensors, out-of-the box capabilities and industry-leading safety systems, the Baxter Research Robot enables a surge of new academic and corporate research in human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, machine vision, autonomous systems, mechatronics, planning and manipulation and human-assistive robotics. In addition to helping accelerate innovation across a wide range of academic and corporate initiatives, the developers' version of the revolutionary Baxter Robot has been incorporated seamlessly into graduate, undergraduate and even K-12 programs around the world, helping to educate the next generation of engineers. 

"Our goal is to transfer knowledge from artificial intelligence research to real world commercial and industrial applications," said Ricardo de Azambuja, PhD Student, CRNS, Plymouth University, UK.  "With Baxter Research Robot and SDK 1.0, our team can focus on what matters most – finding answers and solutions to the challenges where robotics can have an immediate impact."       

"Every day, our customers in university and corporate research environments are pushing the envelope on creativity and innovation with the Baxter Research Robot," said Scott Eckert, CEO of Rethink Robotics.  "Their input was integral in the development of SDK 1.0, and we are excited to be their platform of choice as they lay the foundation for the game-changing technologies of tomorrow." 

The new SDK 1.0 for Baxter Research Robot will be available directly from Rethink Robotics beginning May 20, 2014.

Advanced Software Platform for Manufacturing Innovation Also Announced Today

In other news from Rethink Robotics, today the company introduced a new brand and major upgrade for its software platform for manufacturing innovation: Intera 2.1.  Rethink's latest offering for manufacturing and distribution delivers significant improvements to the robot's speed, performance and flexibility, making the robot up to two times faster, more accurate and easier to train.  Together, the two new software releases combine to further reinforce Rethink Robotics' position as a best-in-class provider of collaborative and research robot solutions.

About Rethink Robotics

Rethink Robotics, Inc. pioneered the field of human-safe collaborative robots. The company's Baxter robots are changing the way humans and robots interact in manufacturing and research environments.

Its Baxter robot, driven by the industry's most advanced software platform, Intera, helps manufacturers meet the challenges of an agile economy with an integrated workforce, combining trainable, safe and cost-effective robots with skilled labor.  Using Rethink robots as a workforce multiplier, world-class manufacturers and distributors in automotive, plastics, consumer goods, and other industries can increase flexibility, lower costs and invest in skilled labor. The end result: manufacturers are more competitive and become capable of fueling continuous innovation. 

For academic and corporate research environments, the Baxter Research Robot with SDK is a humanoid robot platform with integrated sensors and an open software development kit.  Baxter Research Robot has become the industry standard choice of leading universities and corporate R&D teams for advancing the field of robotics innovation with custom applications.

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, the company is funded by Bezos Expeditions, Charles River Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, Sigma Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Two Sigma Ventures. For more information about Rethink Robotics, please visit www.rethinkrobotics.com.

Contact: Gil Haylon, 1-617-969-9192 

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