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New Robot Eliminates Only Jobs Left – In the Service Sector

Carnegie Mellon University has developed a robot that can fill the gap of the absent salesperson.

smithsonian.com

No humans needed? Photo: Flickr user lanuiop

Store designers have decided that people are willing to wander around big box stores like Ikea and Walmart in search of that one particular end table, with nary a salesperson to be found, if it means paying lower prices. But Carnegie Mellon University has developed a robot that can fill the gap of the absent salesperson, Engadget reports:

Dubbed AndyVision, the bot is equipped with a Kinect sensor, image processing and machine learning algorithms, 2D and 3D images of products and a floor plan of the shop in question. As the mechanized worker roams around, it determines if items are low or out of stock and if they’ve been incorrectly shelved. Employees then receive the data on iPads and a public display updates an interactive map with product information for shoppers to peruse.

With these robots on the store floor, indecisive customers can also feel less guilty about picking up an item, deciding later they don’t actually want it, and abandoning it on some random shelf somewhere else.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Robots Enter the Jobs Market
Robot Babies

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About Sarah Laskow
Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor of Smart News. Her work has appeared in print and online for Grist, GOODSalon, The American Prospect, Newsweek, New York among other publications.

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