San Jose locals can now experience something novel. The store Orchard Supply Hardware recently employed a pair of robots which can guide people in the store, answer simple customer questions, search inventory, identify items and call up company experts for live video chatting and response to queries.
Lowe’s Innovation Labs has constructed the robot (named OSHBot) with the useful help of Singularity University and Fellow Robots. The robot is standing five foot tall and is equipped with two lasers (for navigation), a 3D scanner (for machine vision) and a pair of wheels (for motion, duh). It also features natural language processing for interaction and is multi-lingual.
Memorizing a lot of information, such as shopping lists and in-store location of items, is a task particularly suited for machines. In the future, Marco Mascorro (CEO of Fellow Robots) suggest that the robots actually also will have built-in 3D printers in order to instantly produce requested parts. The advent of the in-store robot is commented on in this piece from Business 2 Community, where both enthusiasm and scepticism are present.