Boston-based Rethink Robotics unveiled Baxter, its industrial learning robot in 2012. Since its launch, Baxter has been updated several times, mostly to improve the speed and accuracy of the robot's ability to do automated manufacturing tasks.
But today, Rethink has reimagined its Baxter concept in its newest robot, called Sawyer. Read MoreNew funding for maker for manufacturing robotsRethink Robotics, selling versatile worker bots, raises $27 million more
Odds are good that no one at yesterday's "Computing the Future" symposium at MIT, organized to mark the 50th anniversary of computer science and artificial intelligence research at the school, imagined they'd be watching a black-and-white video clip of Julia Child deftly slicing potatoes. But Matt Mason of Carnegie Mellon University showed it to make a point: technology is still far behind humans when it comes to perceiving and interacting with the world. Mason and other speakers who focused on the robotics field emphasized how many problems remain to be solved. Perhaps the biggest laugh of yesterday morning's session came during another video clip, when the AlphaDog robot from Boston Dynamics, above, was pushed by an employee trying to test its stability — and promptly rolled over and smashed into a parked car. "That's the new guy's car," another employee noted.
Yesterday was "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day" — better known as "Take Your Kid to Work Day" — and the folks over at Rethink Robotics wanted to prove they are the coolest moms and pops on the block. So, they let their kids hang out with Baxter, the robot.
Read MoreI/ORethink Robotics adds two humans to its team