Another new little Robot joining the Robot family. Rethink Robotics have unveiled Sawyer, a single-arm, lightweight robot with higher precision for automation tasks. The Boston-based robotics company aims to make factories more efficient, safer and more productive with the new little Sawyer.
According to the statement from the company, Sawyer “can address many of the estimated 90% of manufacturing tasks that cannot be feasibly automated with traditional solutions today.” Rethink Robotics’ CEO Scott Eckert said, “We have taken that relationship to the next level, with a high performance robot that opens the door for many new applications that have never been good candidates for automation.”
The robot features a friendly tablet face, weighs 41.9 lbs and stands 3.3 feet tall and is smaller than the Rethink Robotics’ two-armed Baxter which was introduced in 2012. Sawyer’s arm can reach up to 1 meter and 7 degrees of freedom. This robot works on the same Intera software platform as Baxter.
Sawyer is created to help humans with more automated and detailed, smaller tasks like testing circuit boards and machine tending – the jobs that are too intricate for the industrial robots to work . Rethink’s customers are already happy with the performance of the Sawyer, though only in field tests. Apparently, the rate of the robot is much cheaper $29,000 and is likely to hit the market this fall. The robot’s signature feature is the digital ‘face’ that proves to be an easy-to-use interfaces, allowing companies to get Sawyer work within hours or days.
Hwever, Rethink is not free from criticisms – especially the job cuts of factory labor has been a long politically charged topic. Rethink Robotics argues that its robots will only co-work their human counterparts and not outmode them. Global manufacturing company Jabil uses thousands of robots including Sawyer and Baxter and agrees that robots will support rather than replacing manufacturing workers.
At the same time, it has received many applauses and funds from many top investors like Bezos Expeditions and Charles River Ventures. Rethink recently raised $26.6 million which is considered a significant investment in the robotics industry, according to the International Federation of Robotics.
The light weighted robot would be released in a limited number to North America, Europe, China and Japan in the US summer 2015, followed by the general release later this year.