Dr. Mark Yim comments in “Hotel’s Robotic Butler Is Not Quite ‘Rosie'” on TechNewsWorld

September 18th, 2014

Hotel’s Robotic Butler Is Not Quite ‘Rosie’

By: Katherine Noyes | Posted 18 August 2014

GRASP Faculty member, Dr. Mark Yim,  comments in “Hotel’s Robotic Butler Is Not Quite ‘Rosie'” on TechNewsWorld:

“I think this is an important step towards getting what many people think of as robots into a more consumer space — as opposed to, say, NASA’s Mars rovers,” said robotics expert Mark Yim, a mechanical engineering and applied mechanics professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The most impressive thing here is the software that is robust enough to let the robot navigate through the hotel around people or obstacles 24 hours a day,” Yim told TechNewsWorld.

While many of us do envision The Jetsons’ “Rosie” when we think about robotic butlers and maids, thereby imagining “a kind of humanoid thing with a head and two arms,” that’s not A.L.O., Yim pointed out.

“This one has no arms — it has a lid, and people have to reach in and grab the stuff,” he explained. “It’s not going to be like a maid and clean things up.”

Aloft Hotels this week announced the launch of a new, robotic “butler” at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., location. Dubbed “A.L.O.,” the new botlr, or robotic butler, is designed to help the hotel’s human staff by delivering amenities to guest rooms.

A.L.O. comes professionally “dressed” in a custom shrink-wrapped, vinyl-collared uniform, complete with name tag. It accepts tweets instead of tips, said Aloft, which expects the robot to free up existing staff’s time.

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