Robot Finds Lost Shoppers and Provides Directions

Posted on January 27, 2008  Comments (12)


Robovie droid helps lost shoppers:

The Osaka-based Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) has developed a crowd-monitoring humanoid robot that recognizes when people are lost and helps them find their way.

Relying on data from 16 cameras, 6 laser range finders and 9 RFID tag readers installed in and around the area, the robot was able to watch up to 20 people at a time, pinpoint their locations to within a few centimeters, and classify each individual’s behavior into one of 10 categories (waiting, wandering, walking fast, running, etc.).

Whenever Robovie spotted people who looked disoriented, the child-sized droid wheeled up to them and asked, “Are you lost?” If so, the robot provided simple directions to the destination and pointed the way. If not, the robot proceeded to recommend nearby shops and restaurants.

Using the cameras to identify those that might be lost and then navigating to them is pretty cool if it actually is successful.

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12 Responses to “Robot Finds Lost Shoppers and Provides Directions”

  1. aaron
    January 28th, 2008 @ 3:14 pm

    Looks pretty sweet..I want one!

  2. AZ
    February 1st, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

    Great as if the “real” salespeople are not annoying enough. Still its neat.

  3. Helder
    February 3rd, 2008 @ 8:32 pm

    I wonder what will happen when someone responds “Yes, I am lost”, but than stays in the same place after the robot give the directions, will it fry the circuits? Or will it insist giving directions until the last electron on is battery?

  4. Robot Droids Help Lost Shoppers Navigate | Vector One
    February 5th, 2008 @ 7:23 am

    […] Here is a another example of looking at the issue of navigation without a hand held device in the city, and this one works indoors too. The Osaka-based Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) has developed a crowd-monitoring humanoid robot that recognizes when people are lost and helps them find their way. […]

  5. Chris
    February 15th, 2008 @ 5:03 am

    I want one of these. I have the worst sense of direction of anybody in the Northern Hemisphere. I can just imagine the conversation now:

    Robot: are you lost?
    Me: yes?

    Robot: are you lost?
    Me: yes?

    ad inifinitum.

  6. John
    February 21st, 2008 @ 7:31 am

    It will definitly take a lot of time before robots like this could replace real salespeople. One problem would be that a lot of people don’t want to deal with a machine. It’s just easier to ask a person.

  7. Scott
    February 26th, 2008 @ 10:02 am

    I disagree with John. I’d MUCH rather speak with/use a machine than deal with a real person. Real people (especially sales people) annoy the hell out of me. If *I* need help, *I* will approach you! Until then, back the hell off or you’ll do nothing more than chase me out of the store and lose the sale!

  8. George Lindemann Jr
    March 13th, 2008 @ 1:54 am

    Well this is another prove that this days meaning of “private” is disapering step by step. No body knows who watch us and so few people understand that our body language tells so much about us…

  9. Akhmad Guntar
    March 15th, 2008 @ 6:52 am

    You know what, you guys… I think the final version of that bot’s actually supposed to have hemispherical dark plastic lenses over the cameras (it looks like that’s what the orb-shaped camera housings are built for).

    So then he’s got big, mildly unnerving puppy-dog eyes instead of extremely unnerving terminator eyes.

  10. Dawn Turner
    June 19th, 2008 @ 10:37 am

    I would love to see one of these in action. I hate going to the store and being bombarded by salespeople. Then there are sometimes when I really need help and there isn’t a salesperson to be found. I wonder if this robot is annoying or helpful.

    I am sure the first time people see or interact with one of these it is very cool and amusing. But after this is seen more often and is more common, will they be an annoyance ?

    It reminds me of the self-checks at wal-mart. I thought they were pretty cool at first– and was proud of myself for jumping in instead of being intimidated…now they just annoy me ! They make far too many mistakes and require a human being far too often to come and help. That just doesn’t save time to me.

    My two cents !

  11. Robot Prison Guards in South Korea » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    November 29th, 2011 @ 11:56 pm

    The potential market for robotics is huge. Smart countries are investing in becoming the centers for excellence in that area…

  12. Remote Presence Robot » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog
    December 31st, 2011 @ 8:30 pm

    […] robot owner used the robot to have his mother attend his wedding (and dressed up the robot) – Robot Finds Lost Shoppers and Provides Directions – New Yorkers Help Robot Find Its Way in the Big City – Toyota Partner Robots […]

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