There’s plenty of talk that robots can act as replacements for warehouse employees. But items have to be grabbed elsewhere , and Preferred Networks Inc. has an idea for a place covered with clothing and general filth: the home.
With an investment from Toyota and Hitatchi, the Japanese company was able to offer a demonstration robot that “picked up pens and put them in a holder all in the same direction,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The same robot, which Preferred Networks refers to as a Human Service Robot (HSR), was also able to respond to voice commands instructing it to put a towel in the trash instead of the laundry.
With built-in cameras at the top of its body, an HSR learns as it goes around the house. Moving from room to room, it compiles an internal inventory of a home’s items, including where are and where they are supposed to be. In a press release, the company lists items including “clothes, toys, and stationery” as accessible by an HSR.
According to Preferred Networks, users will be able to access this list on their own, using it as a search engine for missing items in their home.
“In other words, a child would no longer need to wait for his mother’s return to ask where in the room she has put a toy,” says Yuya Unno, a Preferred Networks manager, speaking to the Journal.