Forget staplers – when your boss is next ordering in office supplies, persuade him/her to get you all an office Snackbot. A talking, yellow and white robot that delivers snacks to exactly where you want them – your desk.
Well admittedly Snackbots won’t become as common as staplers overnight. In fact, sadly there only seems to be one in existence and it’s at Carnegie Mellon University where it was made by robotics researchers as a way to investigate: “robust autonomous operation in office environments” [ha. I'd like to see someone investigating why there's never any milk in office environments, as well, but I suppose robotics researchers have different priorities.]
“Snackbot is a mobile robot,” says his inventor at the university, “about the size of a very small human, that rolls around on wheels, and will be delivering snacks to students, faculty, and office workers at Carnegie Mellon University.”
Lucky them. The Snackbot is also a research project and this pretty complex little creature investigates:
“multi-sensor fusion algorithms for perception, reasoning about dynamic spaces, communicating with people through verbal and non-verbal mechanisms, and planning with incomplete information.”
“The research will allow the robot to navigate through congested areas in a socially acceptable fashion, detect individual people moving near the robot, recognize when someone that the robot knows approaches it, and autonomously learn to recognize new objects.”
As long as it can tell the difference between chocolate hob-nobs and standard issue hob-nobs, I think it will be a success.
Currently not commercially available – but here’s hoping.[via Livescience]