The phrase home robot conjures up images of low-rise appliances running through the flow as they vacuum or mop their floors. The Labrador Systems team has designed many of them, but your new Retriever is designed for a higher purpose – to make it easier for people with mobility problems or chronic pain to stay in their homes.
The robot is designed to function as an extra pair of hands, doing everything from moving loads of up to 25 pounds from one location to another, to carrying items within reach, or even delivering a tray of snacks from the kitchen to any other room in the room. the house (as long as it is on the same floor as the kitchen, that is). Labrador is demonstrating the device at its booth at CES, but has also posted a video demonstration on your website. Labrador Systems CEO Mike Dooley showed us the robot in action during a pre-CES video briefing and we were impressed with its capabilities.
The Retriever resembles a robot vacuum cleaner with a small janitor cart built on top. Take a closer look and you will see an accordion shaped bellows, this covers a scissor jack that allows the robot to rise to the height of the countertop, so you can retrieve or deliver a tray with up to 10 pounds of food, drinks, fresh fruit and whatever else fits on the tray. The company even plans to offer a specially modified mini fridge that will automatically open when the robot approaches.
A pair of arms hidden within the top shelf slide out to retrieve the tray and then push it onto a table or counter when it reaches its destination. As a safety measure, these arms are stored inside the robot when not in use. As an added safety precaution, any weight change that occurs while the robot is changing height will stop its movement. A lower shelf can hold additional items, like water bottles, tissues, books, or whatever you have. The Retriever will come with a removable tablet holder and a USB port for charging mobile devices.
The autonomous robot uses a proprietary navigation system based on a combination of augmented reality algorithms and a 3D map that it will build of your home. The map will include “bus stops” for doors, appliances, and the like, allowing the robot to navigate tight spaces without bumping into things. On-board cameras give the robot a 360-degree view to avoid objects, and these are complemented by bumpers and contact sensors. The robot cannot climb stairs, but can handle any ADA compliant transition. During our demo, Dooley said that users should tape loose rugs, but “if you’re using a walker, you should do it anyway.”
Users can control the Retriever using a touch screen, a mobile app, by pressing a button, or with Alexa voice commands (Amazon’s Alexa Fund is an investor, as is iRobot Ventures). The robot can also operate on a pre-set schedule to automatically deliver items at specific times and places, to remind a person that it is time to eat or take their medication, for example. Dooley said the Retriever is designed to run for a full day on battery power, automatically returning to its docking station to recharge, a process that takes 2-3 hours.
When asked why the Retriever looked so utilitarian, Dooley said it was not intentionally anthropomorphized. “If your dishwasher needs an expensive,” he said, “it’s probably not a good dishwasher.”
The Retriever, along with a base model called the Labrador Caddy, will be sold by subscription. The company offers special pricing for first-time users who deposit a $ 250 refundable deposit to reserve a unit – a monthly fee of $ 99 to $ 149 per month for 36 months, plus a $ 1,500 upfront payment. The company is also working with senior life care, physical therapy and home health providers to explore ways the Retriever can support its mission. Organizations interested in learning more about Retrievers and the applications in their field can learn more at www.labradorsystems.com/care-providers.