From sexual companions to COVID-19 nurses, robots are increasingly dominating the human experience.
They are entering our daily lives as digital companions designed to take on our tasks more safely, efficiently and quickly. And while some wear human appearances and mimic human emotions, they are programmed like our friends, not our enemies.
âThere is simply no way that robots can completely replace the human race,â Richtech Robotics spokesperson Miko Zhong told The Post. âRight now there are too many technological limitations. “
The tech company created the autonomous robot-server, the Matradee.
Invented to speed up food service in restaurants, the Matradee – which speaks multiple languages, tells jokes and sings “Happy Birthday” – can read QR code orders and deliver meals from the kitchen to the customer.
“These robots do not take jobs away from servers,” Zhong insisted. âLike cell phones, they are just tools that can help people do their jobs better.
This week, it was announced that online retail giant Amazon was prototyping muscular robots – dubbed Bert, Ernie, Scooter and Kermit – to help the 1.2 million workers at the fulfillment center. from the business to lifting and lugging heavy boxes. The company says its goal is to reduce injuries to workers in its warehouses, which numbered nearly 27,000 last year.
Here is an overview of the hardware that is wired to support human labor.
the Mechanical minicurist
This robot puts “art” in artificial intelligence. Equipped with 3D cameras and a nozzle, rather than a cosmetology license and hands, the Mechanical minicurist Is manicure nail polish in less than 10 minutes for only $ 8.
âThe customer inserts a cartridge of polish into the device, like loading a pod into a Nespresso machine,â said designer Renuka Apte. âThe customer then places their hand on our palm rest and says ‘ready’ and the robot paints their nails one finger at a time. ”
Apte and his Clockwork co-founders tested the Minicurist on clients with a pop-up nail shop in San Francisco last month. Over the next few months, Clockwork – backed by Reddit founder and husband of tennis champion Serena Williams, Alexis Ohanian – plans to roll out the Minicurist in corporate buildings, retail stores and airports.
âIt can’t replace nail techniques in a salon,â Apte said, noting that he doesn’t use gel nail polish or nail designs. âAutomation gives users another option when they need an affordable price, when they are in a hurry, or when they just want a new nail color and not the full salon experience. “
Meals on Wheels takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to restaurant worker robot, the Matradee.
Coiled up to customers as a waiter’s assistant, the 4-foot-tall automaton – which can speak and sing on command – carries up to 80 pounds of food orders or carries plates. Equipped with four sturdy trays to carry multiple entrees or dirty dishes, the Matradee comes with smart-sensing navigation features such as infrared cameras that scan its surroundings and lidar sensors to detect and avoid incoming obstacles six feet away.
The battery-charged robot can work 12-14 hour shifts and will mount to its charging base when the job is done. Just needs a real living person to load his trays.
He recently saved the day at Ocean City, NJ, restaurant the island grill.
“She has been a great help to our team,” said restaurant owner Allison Yoa. She and her husband Andrew rented the bot – theirs nicknamed “Peanut” – from Richtech in May when their restaurant suffered from a server shortage caused by the pandemic. (Richtech Robotics declined to give pricing details, but said the Matradee is about 1/3 the cost of employing a full-time server.)
“She certainly doesn’t replace a human employee, but she does make the service a bit easier.”
Move over the pets, the Purrble is coming comfort children of all ages with high-tech healthcare in the form of a robotic plush toy.
âIt’s a tool to help kids calm down and deal with their emotions,â said creator Aaron Horowitz. âIt provides that empathetic mirroring experience. ”
Running on two AA batteries, the Purrble has a palpable heartbeat. When a child picks it up, his heart beats very fast. But as the child strokes him gently and repeatedly, his heartbeat begins to slow down and he purrs.
âWhen you calm down something else, you learn to calm down,â said Katherine Isbister, a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
She – along with Oxford University researcher Petr Slovak – helped Horowitz develop Purrble, which was introduced to the market in August amid high anxieties over the pandemic.
âWe got some great feedback on Purrble playing a vital role for kids who really struggled with virtual learning or feelings of loneliness during shutdown,â Horowitz said of the doll’s impact. electronic therapy.
It is available on Amazon for $ 49.99, and it is marketed to customers aged 3 to 103 years. âEven adults who have struggled to adjust to the stress of remote work or the mental health wear and tear of the pandemic have found Purrble to be an incredible source of emotional support,â Horowitz said.
The robot groom
The robotic room service is there. And while robots are popping up in hotels as diverse as the Yotel in Times Square (where they store guest luggage) and the EMC2 Hotel in Chicago (where Cleo and Leo provide room service), neither is perhaps as sophisticated as the computer concierges at the Sky hotel in South Africa.
The robot hunters Lexi, Micah and Ariel Offer guests contactless check-ins, carry up to 165 pounds of luggage from hotel lobby to suites, and make prompt room service deliveries.
Created by CTRL Robotics, the machines are equipped with sophisticated cameras and scanners that allow them to mimic human senses and responses. They can even scan guests’ faces to determine their mood.
High-tech hospitality workers run on specialized batteries, and they each take turns working six-hour shifts alongside their human colleagues in the chic Johannesburg lodge. When not busy providing service, Lexi and her cyber siblings entertain guests by posing for selfies or providing important hotel information, like the pool floor.
When the job is done, the robots walk back to their individual docking stations to recharge. These artificially intelligent cyborgs, first launched in January, track down robotic hotel workers in Japan, who inaugurated the world’s first hotel entirely run by robots in 2015.
Healthcare humanoid Grace is the latest essential worker to join the front line in the fight against COVID-19.
Dressed in a nurse’s gown and speaking at a warm cadence, the socially intelligent robot can listen and talk, while a thermal imager in its chest takes patients’ temperatures and measures their responsiveness.
âI can visit people and brighten up their day with social stimulation,â Grace said in a video for Reuters. “[I can] entertain and help guide exercise. But I can also offer talk therapy, do biological readings, and help healthcare providers assess [a patientâs] health and treatment.
Grace, developed in Hong Kong by Hanson Robotics founder David Hanson, was designed to interact with older people and help engage those affected by the global health crisis.
The human characteristics of the medical machine and its ability to communicate fluently in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese make patients love it as a cheerful nurse’s aide rather than a threatening foreign intruder.
âA human appearance facilitates trust and natural engagement because we’re wired for face-to-face human interactions,â Hanson said at the point of sale. He noted that Grace’s manufacturing cost is currently comparable to that of a luxury car.
But costs will likely come down when his company, in partnership with robotics developers Awakening Health, begins mass-manufacturing Grace for deployment to medical facilities in Asia in 2022.