March 21, 2017

Mission to Mars

Barrett and Draper Team to Harden the Ultraminiature Puck® Motor Controller for NASA JPL’s Next-Generation Mars Rovers

NEWTON and CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA – A robot equipped for the rocky terrain of Mars isn’t your average robot. It needs space-hardened electronics, the kind that can withstand the harsh conditions of rocketing into orbit, surviving the radiation-filled expanse from Earth to Mars, colliding with the Martian surface, and then operating continuously for months and years to explore the red planet. Such a robotic system needs to be rugged, lightweight, and miniaturized in ways that go beyond the capabilities of the best Earth-bound systems.

Daybreak at Gale Crater, courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Barrett Technology understands the value of lightweight, miniaturized, powerful electronics for robotics. Inside every robot that Barrett produces is a patented power-electronics module called the Puck®. There is one Puck for each motor inside Barrett’s WAM® arms and BarrettHands™, and these Puck-driven robots are in operation in 18 countries across six continents. The Puck reads motor position down to 0.09º and up to 14,000 RPM and then controls motor-winding currents with nanosecond timing to apply precise torque, position, velocity, acceleration at each axis. Barrett’s newest Puck application, BURT™, is an FDA-Registered, Class-II robotic medical device designed to accelerate neuromuscular recovery after a stroke.

Barrett first designed the Puck to improve the torque precision in motors that drive its gear-free™ robots. It turns out that the same technology that boosted performance also enables extraordinary miniaturization. The latest version, P3™, is the size and weight of a penny, nearly one-tenth the size of the smallest brushless-DC servomotor controller available, and it has extreme performance capabilities.

Penny-sized Puck simply snaps onto the back of a brushless servomotor

Barrett has just been selected for Phase-II under NASA’s highly-competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, to begin space-hardening Barrett’s Puck. The company had earlier executed a Phase-I SBIR contract to study the feasibility of using the Puck to support NASA JPL’s Mars Rover missions, for both locomotion and manipulation.

Space-hardening power electronics, and especially the dynamic power electronics that drive motors, can be a challenge because they are the most vulnerable piece of electronics in any robotic system. Barrett turned to Draper because of Draper’s experience with space systems dating from the first Apollo moon landing to more recent missions, including the Space Shuttle, the International Space Station, DreamChaser®, and Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft.

Other recent examples of Draper’s space expertise that could be applied to the Mars mission include the development of the Inertial Stellar Compass, which is the world’s first complete spacecraft attitude determination system to use a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) gyro, and Draper’s expertise in the areas of mission design and micropackaging for development of a chip-sized spacecraft, called ChipSats.

Under the Phase-II contract, Barrett and Draper will subject the Puck to several types of radiation including gamma/X-rays for general circuit degradation and high-speed particles, like energized protons, for latch-up single-event failures in key components like the power MOSFETs. They also will test the performance of P3 under severe extremes of temperature and vibration and under vacuum and partial vacuum. The results will help optimize the design.

Draper facilities in Cambridge include a microfabrication center, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) facility, polymer fabrication, precision machine shop and a Center for Additive Manufacturing. At the company’s Environmental Test Facility, also in Cambridge, Draper conducts evaluations under conditions of variable temperature, humidity, pressure, shock/vibration, and thermal cycling, as well as altitude simulation, magnetic testing, motion simulation and electromagnetic interference/compatibility testing.

About Barrett

Barrett is a leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands, such as its WAM® arm and BarrettHand™, for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. Barrett has pioneered advanced motor controls, for example its Puck®, to enable the best force-controlled performance available. When combined with its gear-free™ transmissions, these systems are in a league of their own. Barrett’s latest robot, named BURT™, is an FDA-Registered Class-II medical device that immerses the user in a rich haptic field and enables unencumbered zero-gravity reaching in all directions. A research edition of BURT is available for researchers in advanced robotics who need a haptic-development platform that enables large motions.

About Draper

At Draper, we believe exciting things happen when new capabilities are imagined and created. Whether formulating a concept and developing each component to achieve a field-ready prototype or combining existing technologies in new ways, Draper engineers apply multidisciplinary approaches that deliver new capabilities to customers. As a not-for-profit research and development company, Draper focuses on the design, development and deployment of advanced technological solutions for the world’s most challenging and important problems. We provide engineering solutions directly to government, industry and academia; work on teams as prime contractor or subcontractor; and participate as a collaborator in consortia. We provide unbiased assessments of technology or systems designed or recommended by other organizations—custom designed, as well as commercial-off-the-shelf.



December 29, 2016

Barrett Achieves Huge Accomplishments in 2016

Barrett Achieves Huge Accomplishments in 2016

With the support of Barrett’s team, customers, and suppliers, Barrett has finished its best year ever with some amazing accomplishments. These accomplishments will boost our product range, performance, quality, and technical support in the years ahead.

  • We began sales of the BURT (Barrett Upperextremity Robot Trainer) designed especially for researchers exploring life-sized force-field haptics.
  • We won a $1.5m Phase-II Grant from the National Institutes of Health to create grasping capabilities for BURT and to explore possible clinical use of BURT for stroke rehabilitation.
  • We began sales of the Puck for OEM use, and far exceeded our goals for 2016.
  • We won a highly competitive Stage-II Grant from MassVentures to help underwrite Barrett’s product refinements.
  • We won a Phase-I Grant from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to study the feasibility of using the Puck to support Mars Rover missions, such as locomotion and manipulation.
  • We have grown our team, especially on the software-development and support side. Barrett today has the best team in its 28-year history.
  • We have expanded our space to 1,000 m2 (10,000 ft2) of beautiful sunlit brick-and-beam architecture to increase space needed for the team and to support our new Quality System for manufacturing.

With your support, we look forward to an even better year in 2017!


July 2, 2015

Barrett Technology Wins Grants to Fuel Innovations

Therapy with a Puck-enabled Proficio allows the user to see and feel 3D objects.

Newton, MA, USA

The State of Massachusetts contains an extraordinary entrepreneurial ecosystem with world-class companies, and Massachusetts intelligently supports some of the best of these companies that demonstrate the greatest potential for success.

Barrett Technology won two Massachusetts grants this past week. These grants will support two promising products: Proficio™a force-modulated robot arm that applies engaging therapy for victims of stroke and other neurological disorders; and the Puck®, an ultraminiature high-performance motor controller that is the key to success of Proficio and all other Barrett robots, such as the WAM® Arm and BarrettHand™.

"Barrett Technology is not only creating jobs in Newton and strengthening the local economy, but bringing products to market that will help revolutionize the global health care industry," according to Congressman Joe Kennedy. "With continued investment and grants from organizations like MLSC and MassVentures, we can ensure that our Commonwealth remains a leader in the biotech sector through companies like Barrett Technology."

Mass Life Sciences Center (MLSC), awarded Barrett a $200,000 grant through its Universal Partnership Program (UP), which promotes collaborations between top Massachusetts life-sciences companies and international partners. The grant will support collaboration between Barrett and Sweden-based SenseGraphicsto develop engaging software that allows the user to feel 3D objects within an engaging game.

According to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, "As the global leader in life sciences, Massachusetts has a unique ability to collaborate with companies in other parts of the world to improve health care through innovation. I'm excited to see the results and the impact of these international partnerships." MLSC VP Pamela Norton adds, "Our review panel is particularly excited about Barrett's Proficio. It is just the right device to support our value-conscious healthcare system."

MassVentures, the State's VC arm and administer of the START program awarded Barrett $100,000 to help commercialize the Puck. The START program funds small companies that are on the path to commercialization. In the four years since its inception, it has awarded $2 million to 40 promising projects. According to Jerry Bird, president of MassVentures, "We are excited about the potential of Barrett's Puck technology. As a START winner, Barrett Technology will not only receive the grant, but expert mentoring and support through our comprehensive program. The Barrett team and technology is aligning itself for success and we look forward to supporting its continued growth."

"We are grateful to the State of Massachusetts for making these funds available," said Dr. Bill Townsend, CEO of Barrett. "It is with these funds that Barrett will begin commercializing Proficio and the Puck, leading towards a meaningful impact on the Massachusetts economy by increasing exports and creating jobs."

About Mass Ventures:
MassVentures is a venture capital firm focused on fueling the Massachusetts' innovation economy by funding early-stage, high-growth Massachusetts startups as they move from concept to commercialization. MassVentures focuses on Series A investments with occasional and opportunistic seed rounds. Its track record of success combined with our expertise, contacts and support for entrepreneurs makes MassVentures an attractive venture partner for early-stage companies in Massachusetts. Learn more at

About the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC):
MLSC is an investment agency that supports life sciences innovation, research, development, and commercialization. The MLSC is charged with implementing a 10-year, $1-billion, state-funded investment initiative. These investments create jobs and support advances that improve health and wellbeing. The MLSC offers the nation's most comprehensive set of incentives and collaborative programs targeted to the life sciences ecosystem. These programs propel the growth that has made Massachusetts the global leader in life sciences. The MLSC creates new models for collaboration and partners with organizations, both public and private, around the world to promote innovation in the life sciences. For more information, go to

About Barrett Technology, Inc.:
Barrett is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. Barrett has pioneered advanced motor controls, for example its Puck, to enable the best force-controlled performance available; and its gearless transmissions are in a league of their own. To leverage these capabilities, its control architecture is totally open source with an active user community rapidly adding to a growing code base.

Contact Us:

Barrett Technology, Inc.
73 Chapel Street
Newton, MA, USA 02458
Phone: 617-252-9000


May 28, 2015

The Amazon Robotics Challenge. And, the winner is...

Of 25 teams from around the world, the winner of the Amazon Robotic Bin-Picking Challenge is the Technische Universitaet Berlin using Barrett's WAM robotic arm. - May 28, 2015

Seattle, WA, USA

The Amazon Picking Challenge is the centerpiece of the record-attendance IEEE Conference on Robotics & Automation in Seattle this year. There are 25 teams here from around the globe who have brought their hardware and software to the competition.

Entries include robotic arms from ABB, Fanuc, Rethink Robotics, Universal Robots, and Yaskawa-Motoman. The competition just finished, and the scores are in... Technische Universitaet Berlin's Robotics and Biology Laboratory using Barrett's WAM arm in 1st place at 148 points followed, in 2nd place with 88 points, by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology using an ABB arm and a gripper with creative finger geometries. The 3rd place finisher came in at 35 points.

Prof. Oliver Brock of TU-Berlin remarks: "This has been a fantastic team effort. Every single member of our team contributed with enthusiasm and ingenuity, enabling us to produce a compelling showcase for mobile manipulation as a winning approach to industrial manipulation."

Speaking to media, Townsend adds: "We are grateful that TU-Berlin won this competition, and of course especially grateful that they chose to use the WAM arm. The WAM's dexterity is world-class, the long-and-slender links allow the robot to reach easily in and around tight workspaces, and the WAM's famed backdrivability enables deft interactions with the environment. While it's a powerful combination of capabilities, it would be nowhere without the great creativity and dedication of the students and staff under Oliver's leadership. It has been an absolute pleasure supporting them."

To learn more about the team from the Technische Universitaet Berlin, go to

Contact Prof. Alberto Rodriguez for more information about the MIT team, at

To read more about the 2015 Amazon Robotic Bin-Picking Challenge, go to

For information on the IEEE International Conference on Robotics & Automation, go to

About Barrett Technology, Inc.:
Barrett is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. Barrett has pioneered advanced motor controls, for example its Puck(R), to enable the best force-controlled performance available; and its gearless transmissions are in a league of their own. To leverage these capabilities, its control architecture is totally open source with an active user community rapidly adding to a growing code base.

Contact Us:

Barrett Technology, Inc.
73 Chapel Street
Newton, MA, USA 02458
Phone: 617-252-9000


February 18, 2015

PBS NewsHour features Barrett, SynTouch, UCLA, and Case Western

PBS NewsHour features Barrett, SynTouch, UCLA, and Case Western driving prosthetic arm/hand research - February 18, 2015

Barrett Technology (Newton, MA) Barrett has pioneered core technology underlying new levels of flexibility in articulated arms and hands. Today, Barrett is the leader in advanced robotic manipulators, and its technology is featured by PBS's Miles O'Brien, a reporter and amputee.

O'Brien introduces this PBS NewsHour segment (skip to 5:00 minutes) on advanced prosthetic hands by telling us "A hand without a sense of touch isn't really a hand at all". It's something that amputees and prosthetic hand researchers have been acutely aware of for a long time, but creating dexterous robotic hands with a sense of touch isn't trivial.

UCLA's Veronica Santos, PhD, is performing key research to advance prosthetic hands and arms and make them feel like your native limb. Santos is constructing a language of touch that a computer and a human can both understand by using SynTouch's BioTac(R) sensors to explore objects of varied shapes, sizes and textures, and using BarrettHands(TM) on a pair of force-controlled WAM(TM) arms from Barrett Technology Inc. to control these explorations. The BioTac(TM) is the most human-like tactile sensor in the world, and the BarrettHand and WAM arm have long been the platform of choice for robotics researchers making these platforms central to her research.

Santos uses these advanced robotic technologies to enable her prosthetic-hand research, but technology isn't the ultimate objective. Santos envisions prosthetic arms and hands which amputees use seamlessly. Her ideal outcome is that "All of the robotics, algorithms, and intelligence that we have built in at the very low level acts just like your spinal cord. You don't even know they're there." Seamlessly integrating this advanced technology into prosthetic limbs is an incredible challenge.

Meanwhile, Case Western Reserve University researcher Dustin Tyler, PhD is also working on technology to advance prosthetic hands. His research focuses on the seamless transmission of sensory data to amputees. By implanting electrodes that encircle nerves data from sensors on prosthetic hands can be transmitted to the brain. Combining advanced tactile sensors and seamless transmission of sensory data won't give amputees their hands back, but "it will make you forget you don't have your hand" says Tyler. SynTouch is working with Dr. Tyler's group to provide custom NumaTac(TM) sensors to be used in his research.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.:
Barrett is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. Barrett has pioneered advanced motor controls, for example its Puck(R), to enable the best force-controlled performance available; and its gearless transmissions are in a league of their own. Finally, Barrett's control architecture is totally open source to allow for the maximum user flexibility.

About SynTouch:
SynTouch LLC developed and makes the only sensor technology in the world that endows robots with the ability to replicate - and sometimes exceed - the human sense of touch. Its lead product - the BioTac - mimics the physical properties a nd sensory capabilities of the human fingertip. Founded in 2008 and headquartered in Los Angeles, SynTouch provides Machine Touch(R) - complete tactile sensing solutions for industrial, medical and military applications.

Contact Us:
Phone: 617-252-9000 X21


October 7, 2014

Introducing Proficio™ with VirtualRehab™ Games

NEWTON, MA, USA and BILBAO, SPAIN -- October 7, 2014

A huge breakthrough in stroke-rehabilitation research tools

Barrett introduces the research edition of Proficio to the world tomorrow at the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Conference (ACRM'14), being held in Toronto, Canada.

Proficio has the largest 3D haptics-force-field ever produced for the exploration of neuroplasticity of the brain. It is hoped that this device will soon be applicable to patients* recovering from stroke, traumatic brain injury, and spinal-cord injury. The system encourages the user to explore 3D reaching tasks with complete freedom.

VirtualRehab, the physical therapy videogame platform developed by the company Virtualware, leverages this large 3D workspace with their deep clear idea of incorporating the most cutting-edge technology into our physical rehabilitation videogame platform.

"When Barrett approached us to work with them to combine their state-of-the-art Proficio with our rehabilitation videogames, we jumped at the opportunity. We've already seen how physical therapy with the existing VirtualRehab solution using the Microsoft Kinect® leads to improved patient results for a wide variety of neurological diseases and disorders, including stroke. So we're very excited about how Proficio, with all its amazing features, and VirtualRehab can really further engage and help stroke survivors, not only in clinical settings but also by allowing them the possibility to continue their therapy in the comfort of their own home. Therapists are sure to be impressed with all the possibilities that the Proficio will now give them when prescribing fun and effective therapeutic games for their patients, and the price is sure to be very attractive for research centres, hospitals and clinics. We have no doubt that the Proficio-VirtualRehab solution will prove to be a game changer within the rehabilitation field."

*The current research edition of Proficio is not yet designed to work with patients and should not be purchased or used for application to patients.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.:
Barrett is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility.

About VirtualWare Group:
Virtualware Group is a leader in the development of physical therapy videogames that help improve the quality of life for patients suffering from Neurodegenerative diseases, Neuromuscular, and Neurovascular disorders.


April 17, 2014

Barrett Excels at Hand-Eye Coordination!

NEWTON, MA, USA -- April 17, 2014

Barrett Technology is pleased to announce that it will begin offering a full-sensor-suite for its BarrettHand under the protection of US Patent 7,168,748 whose claims cover the addition of cameras and other sensors on the finger and palm surfaces of a robotic hand.

The new suite consists of stereo vision, a white LED for target illumination, a structured-light emitter, and an infrared range finder, all in the palm of the Hand. Palm height is increased by a barely-perceptible 6 mm.

Patented palm-mounted sensor suite consists of stereo vision, a white LED for target illumination, a structured-light emitter, and an infrared range finder

The suite will be available by this summer as an option on the latest BarrettHand, the BH8-282, and retrofittable on existing BH8-282s. Customers with BH8-280s can upgrade their Hands to BH8-282 for a small fee and then order the option for their upgraded Hand.

According to CEO Bill Townsend, "We had the foresight to anticipate the need for cameras and like sensors to be located right on the palm and fingers of robotic Hands. Our engineers were way ahead of the curve on this one.

By putting sensors in the palm, the resolution scales nicely with distance. A wide view when far away and high resolution when close up - all with minimal occlusion."

DARPA helped fund development of this sensor array, and the first systems will be installed on BarrettHands owned by DARPA under the highly-successful ARM project.

For more information, contact Victor Barrett at

Please visit a website dedicated to highlighting the worldwide research being conducted on the company's WAM (Whole Arm Manipulator) Robotic Arm and the highly versatile BarrettHand multi-fingered, dexterous programmable grasper with optional fingertip torque and tactile sensing.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.:
Barrett is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility.


March 4, 2014

WAM technology in leading neurorehabilitation research

NEWTON, MA, USA -- March 4, 2014

Barrett's WAM technology was designed from the beginning as human-centric, to be a robot that would be safer to work alongside people. This forward thinking approach now has the WAM in high demand as researchers and innovative companies realize the many benefits and extraordinary value to be created from the effective collaboration between robots and humans.

One such area where the WAM excels is the nascent field of Rehabilitation Robotics. Worldwide there are 15 million new incidences of stroke each year. In the United States, most people survive, but a full two thirds experience some level of long-term motor and/or cognitive impairment.

Haptics Helping People . . .

Led by Dr. James Patton, Director of The Center for Rehab Robotics at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), a team of researchers is using a WAM arm in their studies of error-augmentation to help survivors of stroke regain upper-limb mobility and strength.

" Careful consideration should be given when choosing a robot for human collaboration. We chose the Barrett WAM because it is more powerful, highly backdrivable, and provides excellent response for human-machine interaction." Dr. James Patton, RIC Center for Rehab Robotics

Combined with an inexpensive 3D projection system, users try to reach for balls that appear sequentially in space before them. During the various targeted movements, researchers can impart a full range of force fields on the user. This methodology is designed to reinforce normal motions and trajectories. The researchers create an engaging environment that challenges the user and leverages the natural process of neuroplastic learning to restore lost functions.

RIC's innovative approach puts the rehabilitation therapist in direct control of robotic therapy design, session length, repetition, movement intensity, individual patient scheduling, progress tracking, and treatment efficacy evaluation.

Robotic nerorehabilitation leverages the therapist's time, and assures that the user is engaged in their treatment, where both patient and therapist can see and feel their progress in real time.

The number of indications for this device is expected to rise as further research on the benefits of robotic neurorehabilitation therapy unfolds. For example, both the American Heart Association and the VA/DoD have recently endorsed upper-extremity robot-mediated rehabilitation therapy for stroke care.

For more information: About Barrett Technology... Barrett is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility.
Contact Victor Barrett at +1-617-252-9000 x33;

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC)... The Center for Bionic Medicine at RIC is one of the world's largest prosthetics and orthotic research centers; it focuses on developing bionic legs, bionic arms and other innovative rehabilitation technologies. Founded in 1954, RIC has been designated the "No. 1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America" by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991.
Contact Cari Dinneen +1-312-238-4571;


January 7, 2014

Barrett Technology opens 2014 in its newly completed facility

Newton, MA ,USA - Barrett's new location provides its engineering, R&D, and manufacturing operations with a custom designed space set up for efficiency and growth.

The historic renovated brick-and-timber building with beautiful architecture, high ceilings, and natural sky-lighting, makes a fitting and handsome space for Barrett's exceptional team.

The echoes of steam, pulleys, clashing gears, and the gritty environment of past industrial automation offer a perfect contrast to the sophistication, elegance, and silent operation of Barrett's advanced line of robotic systems and technology.

Barrett's proprietary zero-backlash, naturally backdrivable, silent gearless drive system

The new address is:
Barrett Technology
73 Chapel Street
Newton, MA, USA 02458

For more information, contact Laurie Vanelli:


November 12, 2013

Barrett launches the website
highlighting $150 million in WAM-focused research

CAMBRIDGE, MA ,USA - Barrett Technology, the leader in robotic manipulators for advanced research and development in haptics, medical, and autonomous operation, has launched a new website dedicated to highlighting the worldwide research being conducted using the company's WAM(TM) Robotic Arm and the highly versatile BarrettHand(TM).

Re-released in 2004 with patented Puck(TM) servoelectronics, the highly acclaimed WAM is now in use in the world's top universities and research facilities, supporting an estimated $150-million in funded research in human-centric, cooperative robotics. The website offers direct links to published research in the key areas of Planning & Manipulation, Haptics & TeleOperation, and Learning & Gameplay. A new section now highlights Recent Funded Research by the US National Science Foundation, DARPA, and international agencies using the WAM and BarrettHand. The newest members of the WAMbotics Community include the Khalifa University - Abu Dhabi, India Institute of Technology - Kanpur, Northwestern University - Illinois, University of Waterloo - Ontario, and Korea University - Seou l.

For more information, contact Victor Barrett:
Direct: +636-219-0796
Office: +617-252-9000 x33


November 07, 2012

United States Navy purchases three Robotnik Summit XL mobile
vehicles from Barrett.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA, and VALENCIA, SPAIN--(Marketwire – Nov 7, 2012) – The United States Navy has ordered three Robotnik Summit XL mobile platforms from Barrett Technology, in Cambridge, MA, USA. These compact autonomous vehicles are unique because of their special triple combination of (1) independent suspension, (2) independent drives, and (3) omni-directional treads at each of its wheels, enabling unmatched speed and agility.

Robotnik manufactures a range of Autonomously Guided Vehicles (AGVs), including the Summit XL-Omni, for a variety of indoor and outdoor applications. These ground vehicles have extraordinarily nimble suspension systems that handle obstacles over half the height with grace, even at high speeds (3 m/sec). Robotnik also offers a wide range of sensor and telepresence packages such as a variety of high-performance laser range scanners, Kinect for low-cost range finding, PTZ pan-tilt video cameras, differential GPS, navigation accelerometers and gyroscopes, and provisions for intuitive remote control. The underlying software is all ROS-based to support straightforward programming for customers who need it.

The design, manufacture, and maintenance of these products are international in nature. Robotnik CEO Roberto Guzmán states: “Barrett has been a solid partner for us, and so we’re especially pleased with this early adoption of our vehicles by the United States Navy.” Barrett CEO Bill Townsend responds: “We’re equally pleased to be aligned with such a competent engineering-driven company as Robotnik.” Together, Barrett and Robotnik offer a wide selection of mobile platforms and total arm-hand manipulation, separately or integrated, for a wide range of applications.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett is the technology leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility.
For more information, contact Laurie Vanelli:

About Robotnik Automation S.L.L.
Award-winning Robotnik is ISO9001:08 certified, and is Europe's leader in the design and manufacture of autonomous indoor and field robotic platforms.
Contact María Benítez:


October 02, 2012

Barrett and Robotnik team up to provide the best mobile platforms
in North America

CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA, and VALENCIA, SPAIN--(Marketwire – Oct 2, 2012) – Today, Barrett adds Robotnik’s mobile platforms to its product lineup in North America, enabling integrated mobile manipulation for its customers. Robotnik and Barrett have collaborated closely for many years, with Robotnik supporting Barrett’s products throughout Europe. Most recently the two companies completed the GWAM™ product – tight (mechanical, electrical, software) integration of a standard WAM™ arm and hand with Robotnik’s Guardian mobile platform, running as one system under ROS. Robotnik CEO Roberto Guzmán states: “We want to extend the reach of our mobile platforms into North America with solid support for our customers.” Barrett CEO Bill Townsend adds: “Working with Robotnik, through Skype conference calls between our engineering teams, has been seamless. We’ve been very pleased.” The new GWAM™ and other products will be demonstrated at the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS’12) in Portugal on the week of October 8.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett is the technology leader in the design and manufacture of high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility.
For more information, contact Laurie Vanelli:

About Robotnik Automation S.L.L.
Award-winning Robotnik is ISO9001:08 certified, and is Europe's leader in the design and manufacture of autonomous indoor and field robotic platforms.
Contact María Benítez:


May 30, 2012

Barrett Technology announces release of new controls library: Libbarrett

Barrett Technology, Inc. today announced the release of Libbarrett. Libbarett is a real-time controls library written in C++ that runs Barrett's products, including the WAM(TM) Arm and the BH8-280 BarrettHand(TM). The library is free software; it can be distributed and/or modified. As an open source library, it allows scientists, researchers, and programmers around the world to adapt Libbarrett for specialized applications, such as highly dynamic motion of the Barrett WAM. Barrett engineers spent three years developing the library internally, with the goal of designing a convenient, easy-to-use interface that will help researchers delve into robot control at all levels. At the simplest level, users can teach the robot a trajectory by physically moving the WAM and playing back that trajectory as many times as they like. The controls library is also designed to support the most advanced situations in which users can send specific torque commands to individual motors. Libbarre also provides a ROS (Robot Operating System) wrapper that enables users to engage with the growing ROS community while using their Barrett hardware. Bill Townsend, the company's founder and CEO, states, “The new Libbarrett's robust API will allow current and future Barrett customers to use our products in ways never before possible. We welcome this new era of productivity and look forward to seeing and sharing our users' achievements.”

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in the design and manufacture
of high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Rosanne Kramer:


March 28, 2012

MIT and Olin College Engineers Innovate at Barrett Technology

Barrett Technology, Inc., the leader in advanced robotic manipulators, has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Undergraduate Practice Opportunity Program (UPOP) and Olin College to recruit elite engineering students for summer internships. Both institutions work throughout the year to provide these students with real-world professional environments; and the Boston/Cambridge area, with its renowned technology and science companies, offers one of the best training grounds for aspiring engineers.

Barrett sponsors field trips, career symposiums, and live product demonstrations at its offices. Students demonstrating academic excellence in science and engineering are invited to apply for internships, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Students receive guidance and instruction from Barrett’s team of world-class engineers and technicians from June through August.

Last summer, interns were tasked with several specific projects. One challenging project was to design a pedestal, or stand, to support the weight of the robotic arm while being aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective, unobtrusive, stable, foldable for travel, with a total mass of only 5 kg. The students worked in teams, wrote technical overviews for each project, and documented all phases of their work. They ultimately delivered a machine-ready pedestal design.

Barrett Technology, founded in 1990 as a spinoff from the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (now CSAIL) at MIT, values its deep-rooted partnerships with Olin and the MIT-UPOP program. Bill Townsend, the company’s founder and CEO, states, “These students haven’t been taught what they cannot do, so they are exactly the people we want at the leading edge of our innovations.”

About the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The mission of the MIT is to advance knowledge and educate students in science and technology that will best serve the world in the twenty-first century. The Institute is committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to bring this knowledge to bear on the world’s great challenges.

About Olin College
Olin College prepares exemplary engineering innovators who recognize needs, design solutions, and engage in creative enterprises for the good of the world. The College is dedicated to the discovery and development of best educational approaches and aspires to serve as a model for others.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in the design and manufacture
of high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Rosanne Kramer:


November 10, 2011

A Breakthrough in Robotics:
WAM™ Arms at NAIST Aid in Dressing the Elderly and Infirm

The Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), of Japan, has created the world’s first robot system that learns to clothe elderly and physically disabled people. Leveraging the concept of “skills transfer” from a human caregiver to a robot, “reinforcement learning” takes place in minutes, gracefully adapting to the individual size and shape of the person being dressed. Barrett Technology, Inc. manufactures the patented robotic arms and is working closely with NAIST researchers. This international collaboration has been a seamless synthesis of Barrett’s contact-compliant hardware and NAIST’s advanced computer intelligence.

Many benefits of modern medicine are helping baby-boomers live well into their 80s and 90s. At the same time couples are having fewer children, thereby constraining family care givers. Many older people want the dignity of independence but often require assistance with basic activities, such as cooking, bathing, and dressing. Increasingly, robots are playing vital roles in solving quality-of-life issues for this growing segment of our population.

According to the team’s leader, Associate Professor Tomohiro Shibata of the Mathematical Informatics Laboratory, “Barrett’s robots are unique in the world for their ability to react to subtle physical interactions, enabling our algorithms to learn to dress people.” Barrett CEO Bill Townsend adds, “We are very impressed that Dr. Shibata’s team has accomplished such a complex task. It takes an infant more than 10,000 hours of learning to master the motor skills of dressing. With this new application, robotic arms can learn to dress people in just minutes.”

Taking clothes on and off are essential activities in daily life, but for elderly and physically challenged people this can be difficult due to limited mobility in the upper limbs. At the same time, there is a key technical problem. Specifically, it’s difficult to calculate the optimal robot motions for manipulating a soft, floppy material like clothing, while in contact with a person of unique shape and constantly changing posture.

In response, the group headed by Associate Professor Tomohiro Shibata developed a dual-arm robot system that can acquire clothing-assistance motions applicable with a small number of trials. This is accomplished by performing a trial-and-error search called “reinforcement learning” based on actual motions used for clothing assistance as demonstrated by a human being.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in the design and manufacture
of high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Rosanne Kramer:

About NAIST (Nara Institute of Science and Technology)
NAIST, headed by President Dr. Akira Isogai is a leading national graduate university and the highest evaluated university in Japan in many respects.
This work was accomplished by Dr. Shibata and Dr. Tamei of the Mathematical Informatics Laboratory, Dr. Matsubara of the System Control Laboratory, and their team of graduate students. Detailed results of this research were presented at the 11th IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots in Bled, Slovenia.
For more information, contact Prof. Tomohiro Shibata:


May 25, 2011

Barrett Technology, Inc. and Leeman China forge strategic partnership

Barrett Technology Barrett Technology, the world leader in advanced robotic manipulators, and Leeman China, the leading supplier of mobile platforms in China, have announced a strategic partnership covering all of China and Hong Kong.

For over twenty years, Leeman China has demonstrated exemplary sales and service of technologically sophisticated systems including spectrometers, robotic systems, and reactors in a variety of vertical market segments such as metals, pharmaceuticals, environmental management, oil, and gas. In robotic systems, Leeman is responsible for placing nearly 250 mobile robotic platforms throughout China. Their clients range from leading university research laboratories to some of China’s largest corporations and government agencies. The company is led by President Linyu Huang, and employs over eighty people with a staff of highly-trained engineers. Leeman China has regional offices in five major cities throughout China: Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Shenyang.

According to Leeman President Huang, “The unique strategic alignment between Barrett and Leeman will ensure that customers interested in mobile-manipulation applications will now be able to purchase fully integrated systems from one source. Furthermore we can facilitate upgrades for those existing Leeman customers who already own mobile platforms but now need manipulation capabilities.” Wei Wang, product manager of Leeman’s robotics division, has nine years of experience at Leeman providing robotics solutions to its valued customer base. Wang adds: “I have seen Barrett’s equipment in action, and the performance of Barrett’s products is superior to any robotic manipulators available today. That’s why I am delighted to support Barrett’s products.”

Leeman China is committed to furthering the goals of advanced technology by ensuring that their customers have the world’s best robotic systems. Bill Townsend, CEO of Barrett Technology, states: “This partnership with Leeman China creates an exceptional opportunity for Barrett to provide solutions in the China market, and we are confident that their organization will help us discover exciting new uses and applications for intelligent robotics in their fast-changing technology landscape.”

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in the design and manufacture
of high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Rosanne Kramer

About Leeman China.
Leeman China is the leading supplier of high-performance technology products to the top R&D teams in China’s rapidly-expanding market. For more information on Leeman’s robotic products, contact Wei Wang:


March 09, 2011

Barrett Posts Record Year in 2010

Barrett Technology posted another record year in 2010, bucking the industry by any measure. Once again, top and bottom lines hit all-time highs for Barrett with continued strong demand for its WAM-arm systems and interest in Barrett’s new fully-integrated Force-Torque sensor and tactile-sensing arrays.  According to CEO William Townsend, “Barrett experienced exceptional growth in 2010, spurred in large part by sales of multiple systems to support DARPA’s program.”  This program will generate increased popularity for the use of Barrett’s products over the next several years as competitors such as Lockheed-Martin, SRI International, and Hughes Research Labs vie to generate the best open-source software for their WAM+BarrettHand hardware platform.  Systems were also sold in support of a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in the design and manufacture
of high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Rosanne Kramer


December 21, 2010

Barrett’s Puck™ Motor-Drive-Electronics Module Wins US Patent Protection

Barrett Technology’s key innovation underlying the Puck™ drive-electronics module for brushless motors will be awarded a United States Patent today under US Patent No. 7,854,631.  According to Neil Singer, founder and CEO of Convolve, Inc. in Armonk, New York, "this patent is extraordinarily broad and will have implications across the motion-control industry".  Dassault Systemès SolidWorks Corp. founder Jon Hirschtick adds "This tiny invention has profound implications for designers of machines and any products that use brushless motors."  Barrett CEO and founder, Bill Townsend says "The prosecution of this patent took a major effort, but the patent is much stronger for it.  With this invention, we envision a time when most small machines with brushless motors will use the Puck™ in some shape or form."

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Laurie Vanelli at


October 26, 2010

Increasing Focus on Asian Sales

Chiba University, a respected national university in the Chiba prefecture of Japan, will purchase four (4) complete WAM+BarrettHand systems in the first Quarter of 2011.  According to Chiba University science park center, “We chose Barrett’s WAMs in order to explore scientifically the ability of pairs of highly agile arms to work cooperatively with people and manipulate objects with people-like dexterity.”  Barrett CEO Bill Townsend adds, “We could not be more pleased to make this important sale.  The science, algorithms, and software that will be developed at Chiba continue to strengthen the WAM arm’s unique style of physical manipulation and operating in peopled environments.  Before now, robotics was seen as the poorest child of the high-tech market.  However, just as the rest of high-tech seems to be faltering, this new type of robotics is accelerating.  Ultimately, we see tens of millions of robots interacting with people in scores of applications.  This sale represents one of the important steps in that direction.”

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Laurie Vanelli at


September 1, 2010

Barrett to Host Journalists as Part of the Greatly-Anticipated SolidWorks 2011 Roll-Out.

There is a buzz in the mechanical-design community as Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp (DS SolidWorks) rolls out its 2011 product line today. No team can be as enthusiastic as Barrett’s designers because Barrett was the very first customer of the SolidWorks CAD product, which has now sold over 1,000,000 seats. Barrett will demonstrate the value of 2011 in the real-world scenario of designing world-class robotic arms and hands during the SolidWorks 2011 media launch event. According to DS SolidWorks founder Jon Hirschtick, “Barrett has been one of DS SolidWorks’ most important customers. They helped pioneer best practices for using SolidWorks and contributed valuable product feedback in the early years that live on in today’s SolidWorks.” Barrett CEO Bill Townsend adds, “We are pioneers in robotics, and not afraid to take risks when there are overwhelming rewards as there were in adopting SolidWorks ahead of the curve. Barrett has been on a strong growth curve right through the recession. We owe a good portion of this success to the almost unfair advantage that SolidWorks gives us over companies who continue to use other solutions.”

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Laurie Vanelli at

About DS SolidWorks Corp.
Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp., a Dassault Systèmes S.A. subsidiary, is a world leader in 3D solutions that help millions of engineers and designers succeed through innovation. Our products deliver an intuitive experience in product design, simulation, publishing, data management, and environmental impact assessment. For the latest news, information, or an online demonstration, visit our Web site  or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).


June 9, 2010

NSF Awards Barrett Technology Grant to Develop Advanced Robotic Hand.

NSF’s SBIR (small business innovation research) program is one of the most selective of its kind, accepting only
a small fraction of the high-quality proposals it receives.  The process is formal and involves thorough critical review for technical innovation and likelihood of commercial success.  CEO Bill Townsend states:  “It is a great program to develop technologies that might otherwise be too risky to do completely on our own.  And, we have a great track record of converting novel ideas into products that sell.  In terms of Barrett’s success with NSF’s program, our philosophy is to leverage the program intelligently; when we target an application, we align it carefully with our business focus.  As a result we have been awarded grants for each of our proposals for several years, which I believe is quite unusual.  The award is also consistent with DARPA’s selection of Barrett to supply the systems for its ARM program.” 

Barrett is internationally renowned for its development of robotic graspers, a class of multi-fingered, multi-jointed robotic hand pioneered by Barrett to be more than a simple gripper (or pincer), but without the full complexity of a human hand.  The goal is to have one piece of hardware on the end of a robotic arm that can accomplish the widest possible variety of tasks instead of only one task, as most grippers do.  Most assembly or pick-and-place robots, required to pick up parts of different shape, size, orientation, or texture, rely on tool changers and a rack of grippers with specialty gripper jaws machined specially for a given part in a fixed orientation.  The world of manufacturing is moving towards mass customization, which demands this higher level of flexibility.  Moreover, there is an entirely new segment of robotics – mobile service robots – that absolutely requires flexibility and versatility because variations in part shape, orientation, and texture are limitless.  Barrett plans to have new grasper solutions as these applications continue to come on line.

For the grant just awarded, Barrett will pair its latest Puck™ servoamplifier technology (patent pending) with technology licensed exclusively from Harvard University.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in high-performance robotic arms and hands for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Laurie Vanelli at


March 16, 2010

Barrett Technology and RE2, Inc. Selected by DARPA to Lead the
Autonomous Robotic Manipulator (ARM) Research Program

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) recently announced a new initiative to create robotic autonomous manipulators that mimic human arms and hands. DARPA will use RE2, Inc. and Barrett Technology, Inc, to provide the program’s government furnished hardware, software, integration services, and manipulation expertise for this multi-year robotics research program. Both are leading U.S.-based manipulator companies with numerous years of expertise.

Barrett Technology will provide the ARM effort’s manipulation hardware, including the Barrett WAMTM Arm and BarrettHandTM. Barrett makes lightweight force-sensing arms that are specifically designed to operate near and with people by making its drives inherently backdrivable. RE2 will provide manipulator integration services, applying its manipulation expertise to integrate the Barrett technology with various sensing technologies and a mobile platform for selected teams to utilize throughout the program. The goal of the program is to surpass the performance of manipulation tasks currently performed by remote manipulation systems that are controlled directly by a human operator.

"We are thrilled to combine forces with such a capable team as RE2," adds William T. Townsend, CEO of Barrett Technology, Inc.

"DARPA's use of RE2 to lead the integration effort for the ARM program is a testament to our manipulation and robotics expertise," states to Jorgen D. Pedersen, president and CEO of RE2, Inc. "We are honored to be involved in this program and look forward to working with leading research organizations to advance the state of the art for manipulation."

For the ARM program, DARPA will select a set of teams that will be given identical government furnished hardware platforms and will be tasked to develop algorithms to maximize the manipulation capability. A three-phase program will develop the best autonomous software for performing complex manipulation tasks. DARPA’s overall technical objective for the ARM program is to enable high-level control of “hands on” contact tasks, with the mobile manipulation system following a high-level script and performing low-level subtasks on its own. For example, autonomously control high-degree-of-freedom robotic arm(s), wrist(s) and hand(s) to grasp and manipulate objects to perform tasks, including mobile navigation, as necessary.

DARPA's goal of this effort is advancing the science of autonomous mobile manipulation, and both Barrett Technology and RE2 are proud of their involvement to help facilitate that effort.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in manufacturing high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Bill Townsend at

About RE2, Inc.
RE2 is a leading developer of Intelligent Modular Manipulation Systems. RE2’s mission is to advance the state of the art of mobile manipulation. RE2’s manipulation systems and components are scalable and modular. RE2’s development efforts are focused on creating plug-n-play manipulation systems and end-effectors that are interoperable with existing and next-generation robotic platforms. For more information, please visit, email, or call (412) 681-6382.


February 24, 2010

Barrett Posts Record Year in 2009

The financial results are in for 2009 with Barrett posting a record year. Top and bottom lines hit all-time highs for Barrett with continued strong demand for its WAM-arm systems. According to CEO William Townsend, "It is a testament to the compelling benefits of our robotic arms and hands that Barrett had its best year ever against a global backdrop of economic hardship." Fully 50% of
Barrett's 2009 sales were to foreign destinations, especially Asia and Europe. COO Burton Doo adds, "We are pretty upbeat looking forward because we are just getting started in some of these foreign markets, like China and Korea. The ability of the WAM systems to work easily and hand-in-hand with people is opening opportunities that were not on our radar as recently as 2008."

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in manufacturing high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Bill Townsend at


December 15, 2009

Puck Advances with NSF Grant

Barrett's Puck, which already represents a breakthrough in brushless servomotor drivers, is on target to get even better. Having won a highly competitive US National Science Foundation grant, Barrett is taking the Puck to the next stage with new innovations that will reduce the size even further. The Puck is designed to drive fractional horsepower (up to 300W) servomotors and is especially well adapted to brushless servomotors that require electronic position sensing, which is provided by the Puck itself.

According to CEO Townsend, "the Puck is a disruptive game changer in my industry of robotic manipulators, which is why Barrett is growing. We believe that the Puck will also be a game changer in other industries as well. For example, motorized hand-held medical instruments where compactness, portability, low power consumption, high torque density, and oxygen compatibility are essential can benefit from the application of Puck technology. Before now, the solutions in many industries with these common needs have been very limited. Barrett will look for a commercial partner in 2010 to increase its access to these wider markets."

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in manufacturing high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Bill Townsend at


September 2, 2009

Harvard's SDM Hand – Worldwide Exclusive License

Barrett Technology, Inc. announced today the conclusion of a license
agreement with Harvard University under which it has acquired
exclusive rights to a novel polymer-based robotic-hand technology,
known in the literature as the SDM Hand. This robotic grasper was
developed by Robert D. Howe, Gordon McKay Professor of Engineering at Harvard University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Aaron Dollar, a former member of Dr. Howe's lab and currently an Assistant Professor at Yale's School of Engineering and Applied Science. The robotic hand has fingers with flexible joints, which allow it to easily conform to objects and grip them solidly without exerting excessive force. These special joints also enable the hand to grasp objects that vary widely in size, shape and mass, and to overcome positioning errors, in which the object is not optimally placed for being grasped. Also, the hand is robust and capable of withstanding large impacts without damage.

Barrett expects the first production units to be available by 2011.

About Harvard University's Office of Technology Development
The Harvard Office of Technology Development (OTD) is responsible for all activities pertaining to the evaluation, patenting and licensing of new inventions and discoveries made at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. OTD also serves to further the development of Harvard technologies through the establishment of sponsored research collaborations with industry. OTD's mission is to promote the public good by fostering innovation and translating new inventions made at Harvard into useful products available and beneficial to society.

About Barrett Technology, Inc.
Barrett Technology, Inc. is the technology leader in manufacturing high-performance robotic manipulators for emerging applications requiring superior versatility. For more information, contact Bill Townsend at


August 20, 2009

Time Magazine Rates WAM Arms as #1 Robot in Japan

Barrett makes Time Magazine's Top-10 List of robots in Japan, taking top spot.

Daisuke, please make room for your new team mates. A pair of Barrett WAMs are shown at play. One pitches a fast ball. The second WAM swings and bats the ball out of the park (lab area). According to Barrett CEO, Bill Townsend: "Japan is the quintessential home of the robot and the place to watch for emerging robot technology. There are more robot manufacturers in Japan than any other country on the planet, so it is particularly extraordinary that a pair of Barrett's WAMs made the Top-10 List, let alone the top spot. Of course, we owe most of this success to the genius of Professors Ishikawa-sensei and Namiki-sensei of the University of Tokyo. They have shown what can be done with the combination of WAM/Puck technology and ultra-high-speed machine vision."

May 13, 2009

Barrett posts record high sales in 1st Quarter of 2009

Led by sales of the Puck-enabled WAM arm, Barrett posts record high
sales in the 1st Quarter of 2009. According to Barrett CEO Bill Townsend, "We are pleased with this milestone in the face of a very tough economy. It's the best that Barrett has done in 83 quarters of business. I think our team has good reason to be proud of this accomplishment."

March 25, 2009

Scientific American Recognizes Robot Learning by WAM Arm and BarrettHand

We are proud that Barrett is recognized by Scientific American in not one, but two, separate WAM applications of robot learning. According to Barrett CEO William Townsend, "The full capacity of the WAM arm is realized in applications where researchers are developing machine learning and need the system to understand what forces/torques it is applying and not just where it is. The WAM gives a glimpse of how robotics will be done in the future, from medical applications to manufacturing." The article focuses on installations in Alex Stoytchev's lab at Iowa State University and at Intel Research in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. To read the complete article, click here.

March 16, 2009

The WAM Arm Opens CeBIT'09 Show

Mouseover for video controls

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Intel CEO Craig Barrett look on as the WAM physically interacts with Arnold Schwarzenegger to open CeBIT'09. Barrett Technology customer Intel used its advanced electric-field proximity sensor on the BarrettHand to guide the arm-hand behavior during the ceremony. Their sophisticated system also has a camera in the palm. CeBIT is the largest information and telecommunications technology show in the world, and the Barrett Technology's WAM arm and BarrettHand represent the spirit of that show.

Photo Courtesy of Brad Hood, Intel Research Seattle
Video Courtesy of CeBIT'09

February 23, 2009

Barrett More Than Doubles its Shipments of WAMs in 2008 and
Cuts Warranty Costs

Barrett posts a record year in 2008, more than doubling the pace of new WAM installations. According to CEO Townsend, "our customers have been pleased with the new WAM-arm systems. In 2008 we noticed more customers purchasing full systems [with BarrettHand or Gimbals] and pairs of systems for a range of applications from product development to neural research." Based on the durability of these systems in the field, Barrett also cut the price of its extended-service contracts by half in 2008.

November 13 , 2008

WAM Increases Barrett’s Global Footprint

Spurred by the broad popularity of the WAM robotic arm, Barrett has now installed its equipment in 20 countries around the globe with new installations in China, Korea, and South Africa. Production at Barrett has been further streamlined in response to this rising demand. According to Barrett CEO, Townsend, “We are pleased that customers have begun to really take advantage of the capabilities that are unique to the WAM. And, we are dedicated to continue building our reputation for responsive application support and service during this period of expansion.”

March 1 , 2008

Barrett Reaches Record Sales Propelled by WAM Arms
and Puck Technology

Powered by its revolutionary "Puck" servodrive technology, Barrett breaks its all-time sales record on strong WAM-arm shipments in 2007.  "We have been pleased with our steady growth and profitability since introducing the Puck in our WAM systems about 4 years ago." according to Barrett CEO and founder, Bill Townsend. "The first customers were top research institutions around the globe purchasing the systems to explore new levels of performance and human interactivity. Now we are getting traction in emerging applications among manufacturers where conventional-robot versatility falls short. We're also participating in medical surgery [via partner Nasdaq:MAKO] with several hundred successful partial-knee-implant surgeries, where the doctor and the robot share the cutting tool. Patients benefit from the best of seasoned human intuition and machine precision."

February 1 , 2008

Engineering Opportunities at Barrett

Barrett's steady growth has created recent openings for key engineering positions in power electronics and controls. Barrett is indebted to its customers who we feel will be well served by the continued strengthening our engineering team. For further information, click here.


September 25, 2007

Yoky Matsuoka Wins $1/2-Million MacArthur Award

Barrett Alum, Yoky Matsuoka, Recognized for Leadership in Advanced Robotics

US National television news covered the founder of the field of neurorobotics, Prof. Yoky Matsuoka, last night as she received the prestigious John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. Yoky Matsuoka joined Barrett to lead the engineering team during the company's formative years in the 1990s, contributing to some of its most important technical achievements. Barrett's year-over-year growth today is due in large part to the enormous energy Yoky put into Barrett and its products. Yoky has continued to be a close friend ever since. Her persistent vision and encouragement have guided Barrett to its leadership role in advanced human-interactive robotics. According to Barrett founder, Bill Townsend: "the MacArthur Foundation could not have chosen a more deserving award recipient. In addition to the intelligence, drive, and creativity presumed of a MacArthur Fellow, Yoky is also a terrific mother, professor, advisor, role model, loyal friend, and person of deep professional integrity. Congratulations, Yoky!"

June 11, 2007

Barrett Wins Competitive NSF Grant

Highest Performance ServoElectronics Module is also World's Tiniest
and Most Efficient

Barrett has won a competitive grant from the National Science Foundation to commercialize its Ultra-Miniature Puck Brushless ServoElectronics Module. The "Puck" project has been multi-year project at Barrett to develop the world's smallest and most power efficient high-performance servomotor controller.

Barrett has been shipping Pucks™ in all of its robotic WAM™ arms for 2 years now with excellent results. The unique Puck-enabled features of its robotic arm are: 1. Absence of any controller cabinet (internal or external to the arm) improving reliability and portability. 2. Incredibly low power consumption (an order of magnitude less than any other arm in its class) for safety, portability, and the environment. 3. Ultra-high brushless-servo performance enabling application such as force-field enabled medical surgery.

With the huge success of its own use of the Puck in its WAM arm, Barrett is openly soliciting feedback from potential end users who seek ultra-power-efficiency and tiny size. Nearly all industrial precision machines rely on brushless servomotors that must be housed in a large separate "controller cabinet." While the Puck is not available outside Barrett's WAM™ arm today, NSF funding over the next 3 years will enable Barrett to develop features to make this module universally adaptable to a wide range of brushless-servomotor applications.

The hermetically sealed Puck is based on an innovation that makes a servo amplifier so power efficient that the size can be collapsed dramatically. The present PUCk (powerful universal controller) is black and shaped like a hockey puck, but is only 1/10th the volume. The new Puck will be even smaller and handle from 1 horsepower (700 watts) of motor power at the high end down to the tiniest brushless motors made. The Puck innovation also integrates precise rotor-position sensing and has its own 32-bit CPU, eliminating most of the wiring normally associated with brushless applications.

March 16, 2007

History Channel Unveils WAM Arm's Core Technology

History Channel's Modern Marvels

Barrett Technology, Inc.'s robotic WAM™ arm and the striking technology that drives it will be examined on the History Channel's Modern Marvels series on the evening of Wednesday, May 16, 2007. The show, called "It Came from Outer Space," explores key technologies funded by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

A portion of the show highlights Barrett's struggle to design the robotic arm that achieved the title of "most advanced robotic arm" in the special Millennium Edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. The program also unveils the most striking breakthrough in Barrett's history: "Puck™" motor technology, funded since 2000 under additional competitive awards from the US National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy.

The History Channel is rated 3rd among 147 media brands, is a leading cable television network featuring compelling original, non-fiction specials and series that bring history to life in a powerful and entertaining manner. The Guinness Book of World Records is one of the most popular annual publications of all time.

January 25, 2007

WAM™ Code Gets Even Better

Prof. Rui Cortesão Integrates Task-Based Dynamic Model

Robot touch-control designer, Rui Cortesão, visits Barrett Technology from Portugal for three months this winter raising the touch performance of the WAM™ to a new level. Unique in robotics, the Whole-Arm Manipulator (WAM™) enables intrinsic touch sensitivity over the whole arm-- just like people. Harnessing this capability for real tasks though requires an enhanced control system, and that is where Cortesão's contributions fit in.

According to Cortesão : "Why did I come? I was compelled to come to Barrett. The WAM™ is the ultimate machine for breaking new ground in touch control. Other robot arms have far too much joint friction and other issues for intrinsic touch control. Fortunately, the tendon drives in the WAM's limbs are like mine: light and virtually frictionless. After I purchased a WAM™ for my university last year, I emailed Bill to propose my visit."

Townsend responds: "It seemed like an unusual request. Initially I was concerned about the logistics, but Rui's proposal was convincing. Now he seems like part of the family. It's been an exciting two months so far with simultaneous progress on WAMs™ here and in Europe. We are seeing and feeling dramatic results."

Rui Cortesão leads his research group at the University of Coimbra. He finished his Masters and PhD degrees in robotics under Prof. Gerd Hirzinger (head of the Robotics Institute at Germany's Space Agency, DLR) and completed his post-doctoral work in robotics under Prof. Oussama Khatib (Professor of Computer Science) at Stanford University. He regularly publishes papers in top robotics conferences and journals.


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