Rethink Robotics expands to Taipei

Rethink Robotics founder Rodney Brooks with Baxter
Rethink Robotics founder Rodney Brooks with Baxter

Rethink Robotics, the Boston firm behind the learning robots Baxter and Sawyer, is preparing to expand its international footprint by opening an office in Asia.

Although Rethink already sells its products through a Shanghai-based distributor, the company’s new office in Taiwan will be its first location in Asia. The company will set up its offices in the Garage+ Innovation Center in Taipei, which is run by a consortium of Taiwanese computer and electronics manufacturers called the Epoch Foundation

And later this year, Rethink said its newest robot — the $29,000, one-armed Sawyer — will be available throughout Asia.

“With a growing labor shortage, increasing wages and an aging society in Asia, we are launching Sawyer in this market to help manufacturers be successful amid these challenges,” Scott Eckert, Rethink’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Rethink Robotics is one of several companies competing in the new field of collaborative robotics, which aims to create machines that can work side-by-side with humans in factory settings instead of being isolated in safety cages. Just last May, North Reading-based Teradyne paid $285 million for Universal Robots, another company making a name for itself in the growing sector.