Robotics has surely come a long way from just being something we used to read about in the novels or watched in movies. Nowadays, we are witnessing the era of robotics where robots are being used as part of routine in hotels and stores. One such robot is the OSHbot Robot Sales assistant that is being tested out at an Orchard Supply Hardware Store in San Jose, California.
The OSHbot robots are the creation of Lower’s Innovation Labs and Fellow Robots (Silicon Valley Tech Company). The method governing their design process is ‘science fiction prototyping’. These robots have been primarily designed to identify and locate items while also being capable of talking to customers in their native languages. Orchard Supply is a subsidiary of Lower’s and is gauging how well these robots can perform in a superstore. As of now, two of these robots are working at a store.
The OSHbot robot has a height of 5 ft. and weighs 38.5 kg and it appears like a pillar, white in color, with a number of flat screens incorporated onto its front and back. It contains a 3D scanner for detecting and identifying a human standing in front, and also houses a smart laser sensor on the top while another is fitted at the base to avoid any collisions.
The robot is capable of networking wirelessly and its functions include voice recognition, identifying product location and information, inventory integration and prototyping a design. Upon switching it on for the first time, it will spend one evening in the store roaming around and scanning it to create a map for its autonomous navigation purpose. The 3D camera enables the robot to identify objects for customers and helps in locating them.
In case of an enquiry that is beyond its comprehension, the OSHbot connects to a live employee for assistance. Marco Mascorro, CEO of Fellow Robots, commented, “The last decade was one of rapid technological advancement and prototyping, especially in robotics. With OSHbot, we’ve worked closely with Lowe’s Innovation Labs to take autonomous retail service robot technology out of the sandbox and into the consumer market – enhancing the in-store consumer experience and creating smarter shoppers.”
It is likely to expect that next time you go to a superstore, you might come across a robotic assistant doing the shopping for you.