The Robotic Shopping Cart Of The Future
5D Robotics already works with the US military to create robots that help the troops carry loads of supplies around. Their next target market? Attention, KMart shoppers!
5D Robotics in Carlsbad has a vision for our future: a shopping cart that provides a map of items in a store, follows customers around as they do their shopping, scans each object as it goes in for eventual payout, takes a credit card payment, and delivers the items to a customer's car.
And 5D sees this future as becoming reality in about 18 months, said Regan Warner-Rowe, business development manager and one of 5D's founders.
Most of the necessary technology has already been developed for military robots, including the ability to follow a designated person without continuous human control.
But the robot can also travel without direct control. 5D built a walkie-talkie-sized device that acts as a beacon that the robot can follow. In a demonstration, Bruemmer walked around his test space holding the device, and the robot followed him like an especially obedient poodle...
Fans of John Brunner instantly recognize the autoporter from his 1975 novel The Shockwave Rider:
...he nabbed an autoporter and - after consulting the illuminated fee table on its flank - credded the minimum: $35 for an hour's service...
From now until his credit expired the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound, which indeed it resembled, down to the whimper it was programmed to utter at the 55-minute mark, and the howl at 58.
At 60 it would drop the bag and slink away.
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