Robots coming to the workplace?

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Robotics students at Purdue are trying to find new ways robots can assist people in the workplace.

In a joint venture between the schools of Engineering and Technology, students and faculty are programming a robot to pick up surgical tools and hand them to the doctor. The Baxter robot was designed by the company Rethink Robotics.

Baxter reacts to voice commands or hand signals and picks up the tool using a magnet. This allows nurses more freedom for more important tasks during surgery.

Mithun Jacob, a graduate robotics student, said robots will one day work side by side with humans.

“We want to develop this robot to work really close with humans. It’s meant to work in really close collaboration with humans to do several tasks — manufacturing, assembly and, what we are trying to do, surgery,” said Jacob.

As part of National Robotics Week at Purdue, Baxter’s co-founder Rodney Brooks will be speaking and giving a robot demonstration. The event is scheduled for Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in Purdue’s Loeb Playhouse. It is free and open to the public. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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