A warehouse Robot can read Human body language

Not more robots…

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Jul 29, 2022

Besides being a pioneer of academic robotics research, Rodney Brooks is the brain behind companies that have significantly advanced the world of robotics. He is the founder of iRobot, the company behind Roomba, as well as machines that are tasked with bomb disposal and other activities too risky for humans.


Brooks is now planning on developing a warehouse robot that can read body language to understand what the human workers around it are doing. This new sort of robot assistance will be even more revolutionary than other kind of robot helpers because it is capable of boosting productivity while also maintaining the jobs of humans.


Finding strategies to improve human-machine teamwork could help businesses increase productivity and possibly result in new types of jobs rather than robots replacing people as robots are increasingly working close to humans. However, teaching robots to recognize human cues and read body language is not necessarily a simple task.


Robust AI, which is the new company that Brooks is creating, just unveiled Carter, its mobile robot that is programmed and designed for warehouse facilities. Robust AI claims that they “believe that people are critical to the success of logistics and manufacturing operations, especially where workflows are constantly changing.”


About Carter

This robot resembles a dolly that you can find in stores, except it comes with a base that is motorized, several cameras, and a touchscreen that is mounted on its handlebar. The cameras are utilized to scan the surroundings, making it possible for the software to be able to identify human workers moving in its proximity.


Not only can the robot detect human movement, but it can also figure out what they’re doing based on their posture and the way in which they are moving. Human workers are able to approach a Carter that is moving autonomously and then take manual control by grabbing the handlebar. The robot can perform an array of different tasks like following a person around as well as carrying items, among many others.


Brooks is a pioneer of the field, and he’s been attempting to make robots more useful and practical since the early 1990s by teaching them how to respond to their environment, rather than operating as free agents.


Although Brooks’ newest robot already makes for a fantastic demo, for it to be successful, more companies will need to accept and adopt the plunge into automation.


In other news, hospital robots are helping nurses with burnout.


Photo via Ultimation