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Machines serving people: A new reality?

Stashed in: Robots!, Bots, Robot Jobs, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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Botlr = Robot Butler

According to NBC News, A.L.O. is the first robot providing butler service to guests staying in the Aloft Hotel. When guests request for small items, such as toothpaste, snacks or towels, the hotel staff will send A.L.O. on the way for delivery. The 3-feet-tall A.L.O., "dressed in a vinyl-collared butler uniform," will then use Wi-Fi to navigate the hallway and elevator for the task.

Fortunately most of the hospital delivery robots actually deliver meals and towels etc. The botlr at Aloft hotels so far only delivers very very small items. We will see a lot more service delivery robots in next year.

Is the current limitation the size, the weight, or that it cannot handle fragile objects?

An image immediately came to mind:  scalding coffee.

I've seen Botlr deliver a cocktail of ice to someone doing the ice bucket challenge (video not online) however generally, liquids not a great idea. Steve Cousins, CEO of Savioke/Botlr, says "Botlr is like FedEx and Aethon (the hospital delivery robots) is like a freight train."

Botlr is about autonomous navigation in human surroundings and effective communication, rather than heavy lifting. Storage capacity is not huge, although think maybe some room service meals might be possible.

I think it's also triaging room service trips and saying that maybe for a meal (or any large complex delivery) I want a person to do it, but for a razor or adapter or newspaper, I just want it to get to my room efficiently.

Thanks for the perspective. It's meant to supplement not supplant the humans. 

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