One-armed factory robot Sawyer goes on sale

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Rethink Robotics, the firm behind the Baxter manufacturing robot, has released a one-armed version, called Sawyer, capable of more dexterous work.

It is designed for production lines that require a gentle touch such as manufacturing circuit boards and chips.

Sawyer is lighter than Baxter but like its predecessor will work safely alongside humans who can teach it to perform simple tasks.

The robot will sell in the United States, China, Japan and Europe.

Image copyright Rethink Robotics
Image caption Sawyer is capable of more delicate, precision work, according to its creators

First announced in March, the robot weighs 19 kilograms (42 pounds) and can measure forces on its joints with great precision which allows it to "feel" the right place to put a part.

It will sell for a base price of $29,000 (£19,000).

It has been tested by General Electric over the past month and will be deployed in its North Carolina factory - positioning parts into a light fixture.

It will also be used by furniture firm Steelcase, working alongside a welding machine, picking and placing parts in its Michigan factory.

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Steelcase already deploys several Baxter robots.

"These robots are the game-changers of modern manufacturing," said Edward Vander Bilt, leader of innovation at Steelcase.

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