Boulder’s Misty Robotics has made it easier to turn its robots into front-desk workers

It can’t clean a bathroom or turn down a king-sized bed. It doesn’t have the gripping hands — or the size, for the matter — necessary for such tasks.

With proper finishing work by a developer and some software integration, however, it’s possible that a Misty II robot could check someone in at a hotel’s front desk and maybe even recommend a good restaurant for dinner.

Boulder’s Misty Robotics earlier this month unveiled its Misty as a Concierge application template. Launched at the CES tech show in Las Vegas, the bit of code provides a programming head start for people that own one of the company’s Misty II robots, making it easier for those owners to turn the tiny machine (14 inches tall and weighing 6 pounds) into a greeter, a payment taker, an attendant at an eldercare facility or outfit it for a number of other tasks.

The template builds on Misty’s II ability to detect humans nearby and interact with them by integrating with third-party software platforms such as FourSquare, company officials say.

“Misty is a platform. It’s a tool for any technologist or someone who employs a technologist to solve a problem with a robot,” company CEO Tim Enwall said. Misty as a Concierge is a “half-built application that is open source and really helps our customer not have to start staring at a blank sheet of paper saying, ‘Gosh, how do I get my applications started and written?’ ”

Open-source means the template is free. It can be downloaded by anyone through A Misty II robot, on the other hand, costs $2,899 and can be bought through the company’s website.

The template is the next step in the speedy evolution of Misty Robotics. The Boulder company, which spun off from robot toymaker Sphero, launched the handbuilt Misty 1 robot in February 2018. Misty I’s factory-built successor has built-in microphones, allowing for conversations, a neck joint that makes it more effective at communications emotion and liveliness and newer software, Enwall said.

While he wouldn’t disclose sales totals, Enwall indicated that since its launch on Oct. 30, Misty II has been popular. Making it easier to get the “platform robot” up and running and performing tasks is key to driving its success.

“Our customers are out there solving problems in health care facilities and eldercare and office reception, places where a robot can solve problems but a roboticist has not deemed the problem worthy of solving,” Enwall said, adding he has even heard of a magician that incorporated a Misty II bot into his act.

Source link