Robots Deliver Cold Drinks from the Fridge
CREDIT: Bosch research lab
Robot servants that can fetch cold drinks from the fridge have long been the dream of roboticists seeking reward for their long hours of tinkering. Now one group has knocked together a prototype system that combines the skills of two robots to pick the correct drink and deliver it.
A new video shows how researchers made it work in the Bosch research lab in Palo Alto, Calif., according to IEEE Spectrum. Incoming digital orders alert a robot called "Alan" to grab the selected drink from the fridge and place it on a second robot dubbed "BusBot." That second robot servant then exits the kitchen and rolls down the hallway until it finds the person who ordered the drink.
Or, at least, BusBot will deliver its drink to some recognizably human shape. Getting the delivery address right may take a bit more time an Asian male seems to get the drink that his colleague ordered at the beginning of the video.
But getting it right shouldn't prove too difficult. Japanese researchers have been testing their own system of robots that can recognize and advise individual shoppers in a mock convenience store based on personal customer IDs. Presumably, the Bosch research lab group could rig their rooms with similar markers or IDs that let the BusBot know where to go.
Similarly, plenty of robots already scurry about in a seemingly choreographed daily dance inside the warehouses of Kiva Systems to fill e-commerce orders . Those bots use 2D bar codes on the floor to navigate their way to the right shelf containing the needed inventory.
For now, the desk jockeys chained to their computers at the Bosch research lab can sit back and enjoy an order of Orange Crush, Coke or Diet Coke from Alan and BusBot. But they may want to check up on neighboring cubicles or rooms after some time has passed. Just in case.