He’s no Rosie the Robot, but geeks could fall madly in love with AndyVision, the newest innovation dreamed up by Carnegie Mellon University researchers.
AndyVision manages inventory, but his influence might go farther than that, reports Motherboard’s Adam Clark Estes. Researchers say the lightweight, red-hoodied robot was built to “transform the shopping experience.”
Here, Estes explains how the “mechanised messenger” works:
“With the help of a video camera and an onboard computer that combines image-processing with machine learning algorithms, it can patrol the aisles counting stock and scanning for misplaced items … The data from the inventory scans are all sent to a large touchscreen, where customers can browse through what’s available in the store.”
Sounds novel, if not a bit scary for any retail worker reading this. That said, we’re pretty stoked for the day when we no longer have to rummage through untold piles of merchandise to find a coveted pair of jeans or size 7 shoes.
“The idea for AndyVision was born out of me being a shopper,” said Priya Narasimhan, an associate professor and AndyVision’s team member. “I go to a lot of stores and I find it very difficult to find the items I want, and sometimes I leave when I don’t find what I want.”
No wonder AndyVision, who’s still in the prototype phase, is part of Narasimhan’s gig heading up the Intel Science and Technology centre’s “Retail 2020” project. Researchers hope he and other in-store robots will improve the retail industry by freeing reps from the shackles of mundane tasks like clothes folding to help customers navigate the store and make sense of owner’s manuals.
Researchers also think AndyVision could help retailers get more for their payrolls, ramping up service and streamlining inventory without having to bring more humans on board. This sounds like a win-win for everyone—better service, real-time information and less time scrambling for out-of-stock or misplaced merchandise.
See AndyVision work retail below: