In Pictures: The year in madly cool robots

From giants to itsy-bitsy shape shifters, robots are hot

MIT kicked off this year's EmTech conference with a presentation in which Rodney Brooks, the founder, chairman and CTO of Rethink Robotics, welcomed attendees to an interactive hug from its safe manufacturing robot called Baxter. Standing roughly three feet in height, Baxter is equipped with two smart, independent robotic arms and a tablet-like screen displaying human-like eyes. With Baxter, whose programmable robotic arms can be set to hug a human being without crushing him to death, Brooks says Rethink Robotics is looking to foster broader innovation in a manufacturing sector that has fallen behind technologically.

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