Meet Our New Instructor, “Baxter”

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The newest instructor at Northeast Iowa Community College’s (NICC) Peosta campus is attracting lots of interest.

He has two long metal arms coated in red with black joints, weighs 165 pounds, contains three built-in cameras and can be programmed with a laptop computer. His name is “Baxter,” and he is a research robot utilized by the College’s Mechanical Engineering Technology students.

“We currently use Baxter to do demonstrations, and students are continuing to work on programming assignments for the robot. Baxter operates with Intera 3 production software and functions through Robot Operating System (ROS),” said Bill Byrd, Mechanical Engineering Technology instructor.

NICC students are learning to program Baxter to perform movements, such as moving his arms, picking up an item on a table or even hugging children, as the robot demonstrated at the Dubuque Family STEM Festival at Clarke University in Dubuque last spring.

In August, Baxter greeted a U.S. congressional delegation from Washington, D.C., by waving and welcoming visitors to the new Additive Advanced Manufacturing Prototype (AAMP) Lab at the NICC Peosta campus.

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