Posts Tagged intelligent autonomous robots

Robot Shop assistant – is it too early?

Lowes recently announced that they would be testing a robotic shop assistant in one of their smaller stores. The robot is designed to roam about the store and be available for both customers and employees to use for product look up, pricing and product location.

It is not really clear how well it will be accepted – that is why they are testing it. But some of the pundits have already weighed in – check out this clip from John Oliver’s (Last Week Tonight) show:

 

As funny as this parody is, there is serious interest in using this type of technology in retail.  We have been deploying robots for years, our concern is the robot moving and working in a crowded store. Now, for night time security and patrol –

Where is your robot?  Check out the Vigilant series robots from Gamma 2 Robotics

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Security Robots Invade Los Angeles!

Vigilant Security robot chillin' on the deck after a long day's work

Vigilant Security robot chillin’ on the deck after a long day’s work

Gamma 2 Robotics is running a robot road show this week in LA. Contact us to set up an appointment to meet the security robots, and discuss the impacts of robotics on safety and security.

We will be presenting the capabilities and the economics of adding robots to your current security tool box, and also discussing how to put a security robot to work for your company or your security clients today!

Day one went extremely well, lots of great demos and great discussions. After a hard days work, the robot took time to chill on the balcony:

 

Live demonstrations are the best way to see if a security robot is a good prospect for your next new security officer!

Drop me a line using this form, to set up a meeting.

 

Where is your robot?  One of ours is waiting to meet you in Los Angeles June 16th – 19th.  Call me for details and to set up a private demonstration of the security industry’s hottest new product!

303-725-5814

Gamma 2 Robotics

 

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Midnight Warehouse Fire

The robot rolled along on its regular patrol. Down to the loading dock, through the shipping area, up and down the aisles of the warehouse that made up the bulk of its responsibility, and then along the north wall between the warehouse and the office area. The robot had already automatically adjusted its patrol route, because there were several large pallets awaiting shipment on Wednesday morning.  These pallets had over $100,000 worth of custom product ready to go out to a key customer to meet a tight deadline, but the robot did not know that.

The robot also didn’t know that the loading dock door had jammed this morning. So all day the door repair guys had been hammering, welding, cutting away sections of track to get the door fixed by close of business. What nobody knew was that several chunks of red hot metal had landed in the sawdust from the packing area, and a small fire was slowly smoldering.

Chicago warehouse fire

It wasn’t really midnight yet, but you know how the media will stretch the truth for a good headline. To be precise it was only 10:53 and 11.45 seconds. The robot is very precise.

As the robot rolled into the shipping area, the sensors of its FireWatcher™ system(1) detected an increase in combustion by-products. The robot slowed down and began to scan. Equipped with an advanced thermal sensor, it was reading 8 channels of temperature data three times a second, and it detected a slight temperature rise over by the newly repaired garage door. It quickly calculated the best path to get there and began zeroing in on the heat source.

It rolled closer, and the smoke sensors it carried started reading a level that crossed its alarm threshold. It also picked up the increased temperature , and it began detecting the combustible gasses associated with a smoldering fire. It went into fire alarm mode!

Electronic messages flew over the internet, to both the monitoring company and to Steve, the business owner. Along with the digital alarms, the robot sent video of the exact location of the small fire. Steve logged directly into the robot from his house 40 miles away, and could read the temperatures and smoke sensor levels, and see what the robot was sending in real time video. But he didn’t really need to worry about the numbers – the robot had detected a fire in the making, and he trusted the robot. The ceiling mounted smoke detectors hadn’t activated yet – it can take a while for the low levels of smoke to travel in a large warehouse. And, of course, if the fire got big enough the sprinkler systems would activate – saving the building but playing havoc with all the product on the warehouse shelves. As any professional fire fighter will tell you – the second best time to put out a fire is when it is really small. The best time is before it starts.

Steve talked with the monitoring company and they decided to activate the fire suppression system on the robot(2). While Steve sent the command to the robot, the monitoring center was coordinating with the local fire department and the trucks were on their way.  The robot used its temperature sensors to position itself at the right distance from the fire, and triggered its on-board fire extinguisher. The foam doused the smoldering fire, after all it was aimed by a robot using advanced artificial intelligence to calculate the best application point. Before the fire department arrived the fire was out.  As the fire trucks pulled up, the owner was on his way down to the building, and everything was under control.

So, in the end – no big headlines for the morning paper, no customer getting a call about a delayed shipment, and no need to activate the ‘business continuity’ plans.  Wednesday would be just another day at work, except they were going to have a party in the break room for the robot.

 


Where is your robot?™ Ours are keeping lives and property safe! Learn more at Gamma 2 Robotics


(1) The FireWatcher™ system is not intended to replace any fire detection system required by local fire codes or insurance. It is an additional system that augments required systems. FireWatcher™ is an available option for all Vigilant series security robots.

(2) The fire suppression system is currently under development at Gamma 2 Robotics, and will be available soon. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay current with all the ongoing development.


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Midnight Robot at the Tradeshow

It was a smallish show, as trade shows go. Only around 50,000 square feet of exhibits. It was kind of a cool show though – the Denver Mini Maker Faire. There were around 150 exhibitors, showing off bleeding-edge new technology alongside seriously retro-tech. A perfect environment for the use of autonomous mobile security robots.

The security robot is on patrol in a high tech exhibit area. Protecting hundreds of thousands of dollars of exhibits overnight.

The security robot is on patrol in a high tech exhibit area, protecting hundreds of thousands of dollars of exhibitor’s equipment overnight.

The Vigilant robot wasn’t the only ‘bot there – not by a long shot. The difference was that the other robots were shut down, and would remain so until the show opened again at 9 am the next day. The Vigilant security robot was working. It was about half way through a 12 hour shift as part of the overnight security team. The facility is part of Denver’s National Western Complex, and this is the third event in the last 18 months for which Gamma 2 Robotics‘ robots have provided security. It is almost like coming home for the robots. Of course the exhibit layout was different – every show has its own layout. But it took less time to configure the robot for the new layout than it took the exhibitors to move in, so the robot was ready to roll long before the doors were locked for the night.

This morning (it’s around 2am) the robot is rolling past 3-D printers, air cannons, massive lasers, computer controlled sewing machines, CNC routers, and of course dozens of other robots; but as I said, they are here as displays, while the security robot is doing its job – mile after mile of dull patrolling. As it patrols, it scans for unexpected motion, high temperatures, boxes blocking aisles: the kinds of things that might indicate a potential problem, a potential intruder.

Last night was quiet, just like tonight will probably be. That’s one of the hardest things about the night security job. 99.9% of the time – nothing ever happens, and that is the core problem. It is really hard for people to stay focused, to stay vigilant, when there is nothing to focus on. That’s something computers and robots are good at. The Vigilant robot doesn’t care that it has been up and down this aisle every 10 minutes for the last 7 hours, or for the 12 hours last night. It still does its job of patrolling, observing, and reporting, because that is what is needed to protect lives and property.

For those of you who are numbers people, the robot patrols a 25,000 square foot area, and has four patrols configured. These range from covering the full exhibit area, down to a 5 minute detail scan of the ‘high value’ section. This area is only 8000 square feet but loaded with high tech. The robot is on duty for a 12 hour shift without needing any ‘down time’ for recharging. During its shift the Vigilant robot will travel around 8 miles. It doesn’t move fast – but it just keeps patrolling all night long: keeping its electronic sensors on all the high tech machines on display.

This show is loaded with cutting edge equipment. Between the 3-D scanners, 3-D printers, Laser engravers and loads of artwork, there is at least $250,000 worth of displays and technology here tonight. Next week it will be a different event with a different theme, but the same key problems – keeping the exhibitors and their property safe. But that is no problem for the security robot. It ‘knows’ what its job is and it just keeps patrolling, keeping things safe, Always Vigilant.

 


Where is your robot?  Ours were at work protecting the exhibits at a major show in Denver.

Want More information about the Vigilant Security Robots?  Here is our website.


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Robots invade ISC/West

Vigilant Security Robot exiting elevator

Vigilant Security Robot exiting elevator

Gamma 2 Robotics is packing up robots for the upcoming ISC/W security show in Las Vegas.  This is the home of what is new in security – and security robots are the future!

We will be running demonstrations of our security robots and showing off the newest modules, like our FireWatcher package for smoke and fire detection. Come by Booth 2122 and see the future of security!

 

 

If you would like a free exhibits access pass, send us a request using this form.


Where is your robot?® Ours are getting shipped to the ISC/west security show

For more information please visit Gamma 2 Robotics


 

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Robotics: Culture, Cost, and Capability

Over the last six months, robots have been everywhere.

Security robots and janitorial workers sharing the corridor on the night shift.

Security robots and janitorial workers sharing the corridor on the night shift.

Well, not literal robots, but the news, the web, the economic journals all have been talking about robots:

Robots have caught our attention.  But why, and why now?

I think we find ourselves at the corner (forgive the alliteration) of Cost, Capability, and Culture and all three of these combine to make robotics the enabler for the foreseeable future. In academic terms, they are both necessary and sufficient.

Cost

Cost is a big factor. When industrial automation was first available the cost of an arm ran as high as the equivalent of 10 years salary for an unskilled laborer. This made the payback/ROI a hard sell. Only when the cost dropped into the 2-3 year equivalent did industrial automation take off. To be fair for some specialized applications, the precision and safety were drivers, but for mainstream applications the cost was the driver.

Today, we are seeing robots being adopted outside the factory floor, and they don’t cost $250K, or even $100K – service robots are in the $20K to $75K range, due to the availability of low cost components and, interestingly, the cost savings from robotic manufacturing. So the ROI drops to 1 to 2 years for many jobs that can be automated.

Capability

That brings us to the second ‘C” Capability. Over the last 10 years there have be major strides forward in the ability of the software to control an autonomous robot alongside people. As you probably know, in industrial automation the robots are kept behind cages and wire walls – because it is not safe for people to be around them. It was in 1979 that the first human worker was killed by an industrial robot. Since then OSHA and other regulatory agencies have tightened the restriction on allowing people near industrial robots.

Today, the software and control theories have made it possible to safely interact with these robots, and the robots have enough brain power to reason about the world and complete complex tasks, such as security, bar-tending, and so on. Without the capability to do these tasks well, we, as a culture, will simply not accept them. As I have said in an earlier post “Robots must earn their pay

Culture

So here is the final ‘C’: Culture. Over the last 20 years or so we have seen a growing acceptance of robots in the culture. More and more movies (what better indicator of cultural memes?) feature friendly robots (Wall-E, Johnny-5, R2D2, the good Transformers) instead of evil robots bent on world domination. People are starting to look at robots as helpers, assistants, and useful tools.  At Gamma 2 Robotics we ask people Where is your robot?® and they are not frightened, they are excited by the prospects.

Tomorrow’s Robots Today

So all three C’s are coming together: The robots now have the capabilities to do the tasks we want them to do; the robots are becoming available at a cost point that makes it economically feasible to put them to work; and as a culture we are now looking for them to do the jobs.

We are on the cusp of major changes in how we work and how we work with robots. Google, Amazon, and Apple are all leading the way, but it is the small companies that are producing the robots that are going to change our world.  Will there be hiccups along the way, yes there will. But the world of tomorrow is going to be built by robots doing the dull, dirty, and dangerous jobs.


Where is your robot?® Ours are hard at work making the world a better place.

For more information check out Gamma 2 Robotics or call +1-303-778-7400


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You Lying Weasel

What do you trust more, what you are told or what you actually see?

The 4ft tall security robot points its top-mounted camera at the surface of a workstation.

The Vigilant security robot responds to a secure remote request to relay an image of the desktop.

For most people the answer is simple: you trust your senses. If you look out the window and it is raining, you believe that it is raining regardless of what your spouse, your best friend, or some guy at the weather station tells you.  This is a capability we develop as we mature. As kids we believed what we were told, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, “This won’t hurt.”  We trusted what we were told until we gained more experience, until we learned better.

This ability to trust our senses is critical in the complex, ever-changing, and uncertain environments that we think of as normal.  We have to guess what is around the corner, then react quickly when we see that our guess was wrong. We make plans based our our predictions about the future and have to re-plan when we see what the situation is really like.  This is how we get through the day, get through our lives.

At Gamma 2 Robotics, we build robots. Unlike an industrial robot working away tirelessly in a controlled space in a factory, our robots work alongside people in human environments. To do so they need to trust their senses.  Most robots simply do what they are told to do, they don’t think, they don’t reason, they just follow orders.  And they trust.

Auto assembly line with robots

Auto assembly line with robots

This leads to potential problems. The case of robot welder that ‘trusted’ that the space around it was clear, so it swung it’s heavy arm in an arc, killing Robert Williams in 1979; the first recorded death by robot.

At Gamma 2 value safety, and that means that our robots trust, but in the words of the late president Reagan, our robots “trust, but verify”  So, if you tell one of our robots that the path in front of it is clear, and it can move forward, it will trust, but verify that there are no obstacles in the way, and verify the path dozens of times a second as it moves.

This month we added a significant capability to our robot’s skill set.  It used to be that, if we were in a hurry, we could lie to our robots.  We might be at a location like a conference or a trade show.  And to speed things up, to make it easier for us to demonstrate a capability, we would tell the robot that it was really back in the lab. The robot would trust, and follow our instructions perfectly, even though we were not in the lab at all.  That all changed this month, as we upgraded the artificial intelligence of the robots.

Robot patrolling the receiving dock, and monitoring changing temperatures.

Robot patrolling the receiving dock, and monitoring changing temperatures.

Now the robots look around, they compare their sensory information with the expectations of what they should see, if they were really back at the lab.  And, if it is clear that we did not tell the robot the truth – the robot will not believe us, it will do its best to figure out where it really is, to prevent any unsafe behavior.

The robot will trust, but if it cannot verify – it might say “You told me we were in the lab, but we are not! You lying weasel!”


Where is your robot? Ours are keeping people and property safe!

Learn more at Gamma 2 Robotics or call +1 303 778 7400 for information.


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Security Robots and the Internet of Things

Hon, did I leave the monthly report up in the kitchen?”  Steve’s voice floated up from the home office, and Julie looked around the kitchen.  “No, I don’t see it up here Steve. Where else might you have left it?”

Darn, I wonder if I left it on my desk at the store,” Steve muttered. It was almost  9 pm and the store would be closed up and everyone gone.  Steve went upstairs to the kitchen.  “I don’t want to drive all the way down to the store, if the report isn’t there,” he told Julie, ” It would take me an hour to get there and back.”

The 4ft tall security robot points its top-mounted camera at the surface of a workstation.

The Vigilant security robot responds to a secure remote request to relay an image of the desktop.

Well, that’s easy to check,” said his wife.  She walked over to the tablet computer that she had been using to check on flights, and logged into the security portal for their business.  After using the two factor authentication, a secure connection was setup. She sent a command to the Vigilant security robot that was currently patrolling the warehouse area. The robot stopped its patrol,  went to the office area and over to Steve’s desk.

Julie activated the on-board camera system and used the camera controls to scan the top of Steve’s desk. “Steve, the report is not on your desk, anywhere else it might be?” Steve thought for a moment, “Wait, I remember! I had it on top of the box of samples I put in the trunk. I’ll bet that’s where it is.”  As he went to the garage to check the trunk of his car, Julie pulled up the shift report from the Security Robot, and noticed that there had been reports of break-ins through high windows in other warehouses in the area. She quickly told the robot to focus more patrol time in the warehouse, and to do a high-visibility patrol – activating its headlights as it passed the windows.

Steve came back from the garage with the report in his hand and mentioned that he would have been really mad if he had had to drive all the way down to the office only to find that the report wasn’t there.

As the Internet of Things continues to grow, we will experience incidents like this more and more frequently.  We will continue to have more access and more control over every day actions, regardless of where we are in the world at the time.  The Security Robots available from Gamma 2 Robotics are already ‘internet aware’ and give their owners unprecedented control of their physical security assets – when you need them, where you need them!

To learn more about the capabilities of Vigilant Security Robots and The Internet of Things, contact us by web or phone: +1 303.778.7400


Where is your robot?™  Our  American-made security robots are at work keeping people and property safe and secure.


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2014 – The year of the robots!

Here it is the end of the year, and those of us at Vigilant Robots would like to say Happy New Year, and wish you the best in 2014.

Vigilus MCP security robot on Duty in Lobby

Vigilus MCP security robot on night patrol duty in Lobby

We think of the coming year as “The Year of the Robots,” especially for those of us in the security field. With all the buzz surrounding Google’s acquisition of 8 robotics companies, Amazon’s great press covering their (questionable) use of delivery drones, and the big splash in the media by the project at KnightScope – we think it is going to be a banner year for robots.

We just wanted to remind you that you don’t have to wait!

  • KnightScope is hoping to have a product by late 2015,
  • Google thinks it will be a “10 year moon-shot”, and
  • Amazon does not expect delivery drones in the foreseeable future.

But at Vigilant Robots we are ready to ship your security patrol robot today.

With a cost-effective price, and under a 1 year ROI, you can be under-bidding your competition, increasing your security, and differentiating your company from the others with a single phone call!

So, to get ready for the Year of the Robots, I’d like you to do one (or more) of three things – right now, while you are thinking of it!

  1. At the very least, click on this link, and subscribe to our monthly newsletter on the growing interest in mobile Security robots,
  2. Second, visit our blog “Where is my robot” regularly, for updates on technology, and how the security field is changing, and
  3. Last, stop by the new Vigilant Robots website to learn about our new option packages, like the FireWatcher, the new Strobes and Siren package, and the available headlight package for high quality video in low-light conditions.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and best wishes for success in 2014 – The Year of the Robots!

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Intruder Detected! new Video of security robots

Here is the newest video of the Vigilant Security Robot in action!

Where is your robot?® Ours are protecting lives and property every day.  Learn more at Vigilant Robots

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