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Les Territoires De La Mondialisation

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Par   •  30 Janvier 2015  •  296 Mots (2 Pages)  •  870 Vues

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A ROBOT WITH A REASSURING TOUCH

BOSTON — If you grab the hand of a two-armed robot named Baxter, it will turn its

head and a pair of cartoon eyes — displayed on a tablet-size computer-screen “face”

— will peer at you with interest.

The sensation that Baxter conveys is not creepy, but benign, perhaps even

disarmingly friendly. And that is intentional. 5

Baxter, the first product of Rethink Robotics, an ambitious start-up company in a

revived manufacturing district here, is a significant bet that robots in the future will

work directly with humans in the workplace.

That is a marked shift from today’s machines, which are kept safely isolated from

humans, either inside glass-cages or behind laser-controlled “light curtains”, because 10

they move with Terminator-like speed and accuracy and could flatten any human

they encountered. By contrast, Baxter, which comes encased in plastic and has a

nine-foot “wingspan”, is relatively slow and imprecise in the way it moves. And it has

an elaborate array of safety mechanisms and sensors to protect the human workers

it assists. 15

Here in a brick factory that was once one of the first electrified manufacturing sites in

New England, Rodney A. Brooks, the legendary roboticist who is Rethink’s founder,

proves its safety by placing his head in the path of Baxter’s arm while it moves

objects on an assembly line.[…]

The $22,000 robot that Rethink will begin selling in October is the clearest evidence 20

yet that robotics is more than a laboratory curiosity or a tool only for large companies

with vast amounts of capital. The company is betting it can broaden the market for

robots by selling an inexpensive machine that can collaborate with human workers,

the way the computer industry took off in the 1980s when the prices of PCs fell

sharply and people without programming experience could start using them right out 25

of the box.

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