MiSci’s Robot Lab experience, open this summer, teaches robotics and coding with Finch robots. Designed by Carnegie Mellon, these small robots translate computer languages into motion, sounds, and visual effects. Robot Lab is also home to two larger robots, Knowbot and Baxter. Both robots have been attracting attention, so this blog is dedicated to telling their stories.
Formerly located on the lower level near the Toyota Engineering 4D Theater, Knowbot’s new temporary home is in Robot Lab. Officially named Griot Knowbot, this robot was created by artist Jim Pallas. He was originally designed as a fundraising tool.
Knowbot accepted coins or bill in his mouth and used a sensor to respond with one of more than 150 sound files his memory. Most of the responses were based on quotes from scientists, philosophers, inventors, comedians, artists and others.
Knowbot has an industrial look meant to reflect the history and character of Detroit. Industrial discards form most of Knowbot’s body and around his heart are mementos of Europe, Africa, the Middle-East, the Mediterreanean, and more, in recognition of the people who have come to Detroit from all over the the world. “We tried to make a Motor City Griot that combines art and technology to continue the oral tradition and that expresses the bold spirit of Detroit,” Pallas wrote on his website.
Today, Knowbot is retired from fundraising, but enjoys his work in Robot Lab. He greets guests as they enter the exhibit space and holds two tablets with information on robotics, contributing to the educational content in Robot Lab.
Baxter is on loan to MiSci from Magna Corporation. He has served as the “face” of Robot Lab appearing in the news media, including Channel 4’s Live in the D. He is currently stationed in Robot Lab, where he demonstrates a wide range of simple tasks. Most of all, guests enjoy shaking hands with Baxter or giving him a fist bump.
MiSci’s Baxter is one of many Baxters created by Rethink Robotics to help businesses with their manufacturing process. According to the company’s website, organizations across North America have integrated Baxter into their workforce. “(He) is a proven solution for a wide range of tasks – from line loading and machine tending, to packaging and material handling.”
For now, MiSci’s Baxter is enjoying a life of leisure away from the manufacturing line. He enjoys entertaining MiSci guests and teaching them about robotic capabilities.
Be sure to stop by MiSci’s Robot Lab during your next visit to meet both Knowbot and Baxter.