Rethink Robotics suddenly closes their business

Oct 14, 2018Statements, News

Rethink failed a deal with a Chinese company and fell into a bad financial situation.

Rethink Robotics was a pioneer in building robot that could be able to coordinate with humans in real work with assured safety. However, due to a business dilemma, the company closed down on Wednesday without any statements.

Founded in 2008 by Professor Rodney Brooks, Rethink used to be one of the world’s most powerful business in robotics. Rethink led the way in the sphere of developing “cobots”, or collaborative robots, which are designed to safely work alongside humans. The software of this robot was developed towards simplification for people to program and to use, making it suitable for even people who barely receive any training in robotics. The cobots are well equipped with sensor and software that help prevent them from accidentally causing harm to users.

Baxter and Sawyer are the names of two outstanding products of the company. They are designed with the ability to perform highly repetitive rote tasks. They received a big deal from China, which led them to a cash crisis since their customer suddenly denied the order and withdraw. Scott Eckert, Rethink chief executive, refused to give the name of this Chinese company. Sawyer robot was customized for Chinese market, and now when the deal couldn’t be closed, Rethink was left with unsold robots and unpaid bills.

Simultaneously, Rethink had to confront its strong rivals. One of them is Universal Robots, a Danish company owned by North Reading-based Teradyne Inc., who announced the sale of its 25,000th collaborative robot last month. “It’s tough to compete with Universal,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of the Association for Advancing Automation.

Rethink will begin to sell off its patent portfolio and other intellectual property, and the company’s 91 employees are expected to be in strong demand from other robotics firms.