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Baxter Research Robot – Beverage Serving Program

  • Post published:July 15, 2015

Rethink Robotics’ Research Robot Baxter is a compelling addition to the world of Research and Education. With its industry-tested hardware, Baxter is about to revolutionize the manufacturing world; it also provides a safe, affordable, robust platform for schools and labs to utilize in different yet exciting ways. With market-leading value, a unique inherent safety system and the real-world relevance of the Baxter manufacturing solution, it is quickly becoming a must-have tool for leading institutions around the globe. It allows direct programming access to the system via a standard, open-source ROS API interface. Users can run custom programs from a connected development workstation, or locally through access to the on-board CPU. It is entirely safe to operate around humans without the need for safety cages or other guarding equipment, and comes with a suite of example programs, demonstration videos, online documentation and a robust user community to help new users get started quickly in developing new applications.

Our robotics team often build applications for our very own Baxter. The latest of these applications is a program for serving beverages to users in glasses. In this scenario, Baxter is able to pick up a bottle from a batch of similar bottles, and then performs the complicated task of delicately removing its cap using a stationary bottle-opener.

baxter-picking-up-cokeIt is then capable of pouring the liquid beverage into a container, taking care to let the initial fizz settle before pouring the rest of it. Baxter then places the bottle down, only to pick up and handover the cold beverage to a human subject. This program is developed using the following software and hardware components:

The following Software technologies are used:

  • ROS (Robot operating system)
  • Baxter SDK
  • Python 2.7.6
  • Open-CV 2.4.10 library
  • IDLE (Integrated Development Environment for Python)

The following Hardware is used:

  • Baxter Research Robot
  • Custom designed gripper for picking up bottles
  • Custom designed gripper for holding the bottles
  • Custom designed opener for opening the bottles

How It Works?

Baxter uses its hand camera to detect the locations of the bottles in the crate. After finding and calculating the bottle position it uses the custom-designed grippers manufactured by our Robotics department to pick up the bottle by its neck and lift it out of the crate. It then transfers the bottle to its other hand that is also equipped with custom-designed gripper for holding it firmly. The bottle is then fixed into a custom-designed bottle opener manufactured specially for this task. Baxter’s arm then jerks the bottle to open its lid. The opened bottle is then placed above a pre-determined location for the glass. Baxter rotates the bottle and pours into the glass using a technique specially designed to prevent the coke’s froth from overflowing.

baxter-pouring-cokeBaxter then places the bottle down, picks up the glass and hands it to the user.