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Robot watch out! Here I come

An Amazon worker donning a special vest acting as a radio beacon to signal her presence to robots in the area. Source: TechCrunch

The separation between humans and robots on the workplace used to be quite rigid to ensure workers’ safety. More and more robots are designed to operate in the same space of humans but sometimes this may cause problems to both humans (robots bumping on them) and robots (humans stepping over them).

Amazons is employing over 100,000 robots in its warehouses (yes you read it correctly – hundred thousands, that is one robot for every 5 workers) and the mutual tripping over happens. Well, it seems it won’t happen anymore. Amazon Research developed a vest (just breaches with a small bag attached) serving as a beacon, able to signal robots that are roaming in the area the presence of a worker. Actually the system is smarter than that. It can work out the moving pattern of the worker and based on that the robot can redraw its path, saving time and energy.

I found this news interesting because it shows that we are starting to share out world with robots and we need to find a way to coexist (happily and safely).

About Roberto Saracco

Roberto Saracco fell in love with technology and its implications long time ago. His background is in math and computer science. Until April 2017 he led the EIT Digital Italian Node and then was head of the Industrial Doctoral School of EIT Digital up to September 2018. Previously, up to December 2011 he was the Director of the Telecom Italia Future Centre in Venice, looking at the interplay of technology evolution, economics and society. At the turn of the century he led a World Bank-Infodev project to stimulate entrepreneurship in Latin America. He is a senior member of IEEE where he leads the Industry Advisory Board within the Future Directions Committee and co-chairs the Digital Reality Initiative. He teaches a Master course on Technology Forecasting and Market impact at the University of Trento. He has published over 100 papers in journals and magazines and 14 books.