The man who invented Roomba, the robotic vacuum, is back — this time, with Baxter. Rodney Brooks, roboticist and entrepreneur, brought Baxter, his latest robot, to the TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., last week.
Fifteen years ago, Denis Gagnon bought a company that made a product nobody really liked: hand dryers. But he quickly managed to turn Massachusetts-based Excel Dryer into an innovator with the Xlerator — a high-speed dryer that cut drying time from more than 30 seconds to less than 15.
There's a lot of talk in politics about the desirability of American manufacturing and "green" jobs. President Obama talks about both often, especially wind turbines and long-lasting batteries that are made on U.S. soil.
Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, recently visited a Massachusetts factory that makes a product that hits those same parameters. It's arguably a force for sustainability, nearly 40 Americans assemble it, and it's an interesting case study in innovation: the high-speed hand dryer.
The advantages to making products in the U.S. are starting to stack up — and companies are taking notice. Among them are Apple, which announced Thursday it plans to start producing some of its Mac computers here instead of in China, and General Electric, which is making big investments at home.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
We're talking about the small but significant trend called insourcing, manufacturing things here in the U.S. Earlier this year, Bayard Winthrop opened up a sweatshirt and hoodie business in San Francisco, and he called it American Giant. He's got 10 people in the front office and up to 150 workers in a factory where his entire line, soup to nuts, is made in America.