I was walking around our building the other day and went into an area where we are doing long-term testing of software that we have written for a custom machine. With this particular machine there are two mechanical features that have to be pushed in from time to time to simulate an operator’s interaction. The software engineer who had set up the test was busy working on other software and found it bothersome to stop what she was doing to keep tending the machine. When she would forget, the machine cycle would stop.
The software engineer brought one of our Baxter robots over to the machine and in a few minutes Baxter was taught the task. Now the long-term test can proceed, the software engineer is happy, and Baxter seems happy having a worthwhile task to perform!
This is one of the great features of the Baxter robot from Rethink Robotics: You think of an application where Baxter could be useful and in a few minutes have Baxter performing the task. Baxter is handy to have around!