Newton-MA-USA-based Barrett Technology, LLC was founded by CEO Dr. Bill Townsend in 1988 as a boutique business to develop robots based on advanced technologies that work hand-in-hand with people. At that time, removing the barrier between people and robots was a radical concept, far ahead of its time. Since then, Barrett has been a trailblazer, helping to shape the field of robotics.


1988 | Barrett introduces the first-ever human-interactive robot. 

1998 | MAKO Surgical licenses Barrett’s flagship WAM® robot arm for their RIO® surgical robot. (MAKO later purchased by Stryker for $1.6B.)

1999 | Barrett licenses key patent to SensAble Technologies for its PhanTom® haptic device.

2000 | The special Millennium Edition of the Guinness Book of Records cites the WAM® arm as the world’s “most advanced” robot.

2003 | Townsend wins prestigious Engelberger Award in technology for introducing the first robot designed to support haptics.

2004 | Barrett introduces its 1st-generation Puck® networked brushless-motor controller.

2010 | DARPA’s (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) ARM (Advanced Robotic Manipulation) program singles out Barrett’s two main products, the latest WAM® Arm and the newest BarrettHand™, with a purchase of 10 systems, especially to explore the limits of Artificial Intelligence.

2012 | Barrett’s advanced robotic arm and robotic hand products installed in 18 countries across six continents.

2015 | Technische Universität Berlin, using a WAM arm, takes first place among 28 teams from 9 countries at the Amazon Challenge with 148 points, beating 2nd-place MIT (using ABB robots) at only 88 points. Third-place and the remaining 25 runners-up score only 38 or fewer points, which include arms from ReThink, Universal Robots, Fanuc, and Yaskawa-Motoman. 

2016 | Barrett introduces its new P3™ (3rd-gen) 2.5-gram Puck® to OEMs, selling 550 P3s.

2017 | BURT® introduced as a robotic medical device for neurorehabilitation, exploiting brain plasticity to improve outcomes when recovering from a stroke or other neurological injury.