Rodney Brooks : A New Class of Industrial Robot
Chairman and CTO, Rethink Robotics, Inc.
October 12, 2012
At Rethink Robotics we have been developing a new class of industrial robot. The transition from mainframes to PCs completely transformed office work, and then transformed how we access information in our daily lives. With mainframes only specialists had direct access to computation. With the PC ordinary people were empowered to control computation and to use if for their own purposes. The Baxter robot is aimed at an analogous transformation from current industrial robots which are installed, integrated, and controlled by specialists, to a situation where anybody who can work on a factory floor can install a robot and have it doing useful work within an hour. The important metrics for this new class of robot are adaptability, flexibility, and ease of use. And low cost. This talk will show how we defined and drove the design of the robot and its own manufacture to these metrics.
Rodney Brooks is the Panasonic Professor of Robotics (emeritus) at MIT.
He is a robotics entrepreneur and Founder, Chairman and CTO of Rethink Robotics (formerly Heartland Robotics). He is also a Founder, former Board Member (1990 - 2011) and former CTO (1990 - 2008) of iRobot Corp (Nasdaq: IRBT). Dr. Brooks is the former Director (1997 - 2007) of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and then the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He received degrees in pure mathematics from the Flinders University of South Australia and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from Stanford University in 1981. He held research positions at Carnegie Mellon University and MIT, and a faculty position at Stanford before joining the faculty of MIT in 1984. He has published many papers in computer vision, artificial intelligence, robotics, and artificial life.
Dr. Brooks served for many years as a member of the International Scientific Advisory Group (ISAG) of National Information and Communication Technology Australia (NICTA), and on the Global Innovation and Technology Advisory Council of John Deere & Co. He is an currently Xconomist at Xconomy and a regular contributor to the Edge.
Dr. Brooks is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), a Founding Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS), a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the other AAAS), a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), a Corresponding Member of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS) and a Foreign Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE). He won the Computers and Thought Award at the 1991 IJCAI (International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence). He has been the Cray lecturer at the University of Minnesota, the Mellon lecturer at Dartmouth College, and the Forsythe lecturer at Stanford University. He was co-founding editor of the International Journal of Computer Vision and is a member of the editorial boards of various journals including Adaptive Behavior, Artificial Life, Applied Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Robots and New Generation Computing. He starred as himself in the 1997 Errol Morris movie "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" named for one of his scientific papers, a Sony Classics picture, available on DVD.