Pioneering creator of collaborative ‘cobots' Rethink Robotics shuts down

Rethink Robotics, the Boston company that pioneered the development of “cobots” —collaborative robots designed to work alongside humans — shut down on Wednesday.

The company’s closure was abrupt and surprised members of the robotics community. According to the Boston Globe, Rethink had been exploring a deal to sell itself to another firm, but the acquisition fell through at the last minute. “We thought that we had a deal that we were going to be able to close,” Rethink chief executive Scott Eckert told the Globe.

Ecekert declined to name the company involved in the failed acquisition, but said that Rethink had been running low on cash after disappointing sales of its Baxter and Sawyer robots. We’ve reached out to Rethink and will update this story if we hear more.  Full Article:

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ST Robotics Develops the Workspace Sentry for Collaborative Robotics

ST Robotics Develops the Workspace Sentry for Collaborative Robotics

The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.