Labrador Systems’ robots assist people in their homes by delivering objects to them. It does this through commands generated by voice or the app. (Image Credit: Labrador Systems)
I really loved this idea. It was something I wanted to make years ago... but you know how ideas go. A million of them, but no time to do it all.
CES usually presents varying home robots that fail to materialize as products due to their over-complicated expectations. Now, Labrador Systems recently unveiled two robotic systems named Caddie and Retriever, self-driving shelves that can assist users in their homes. Interested customers can place a fully-refundable $250 deposit for these promising robots. Prices start at $1500 upfront with 36-month payment plans. That means Caddie costs $99 a month while Retriever costs $149 a month, putting them at $5,000 and $6,800 in total, respectively.
Both robots, called Cassie and Retriever, make homeowners’ lives a lot easier by carrying their goods around. Approximately the size of a side table, the bots feature wheels and sensors, providing them with home navigation capabilities. Owners just need to set different stops for these machines, such as in the kitchen, by the couch, etc. Users then command the robots, either by voice (Alexa integration) or the app, to travel between these areas, avoiding obstacles and humans.
Each robot steadily moves around, can automatically recharge overnight, and has a payload of approximately 11 kilograms. While they offer the same idea, moving goods from one place to another, Retriever comes with an extra feature. It has automatic retrieval capabilities, allowing it to grab trays from tables and cabinets. Caddie also promises to be very useful, performing ordinary tasks such as moving plates to the kitchen, a book, and glasses to the couch or laundry around the house. These robots are mainly designed to help the elderly, those dealing with mobility issues, and people suffering from arthritis or Parkinson’s.
The Retriever robot has automatic retrieval capabilities, allowing trays to slide atop the system. From there, the robot delivers it to a different location. (Image Credit: Labrador Systems)
Labrador is expected to install motors on future customers’ refrigerator doors, allowing the robot to easily open it, slide a tray out from a shelf and bring it to another area. Customers can then create routines from this, offering extra independence for those requiring regular care.
Labrador’s robots owe their simplicity to functionality limitations. For example, most home robots promise to empty the dishwasher or vacuum the carpet. Those tasks are overly complex for a machine to handle, so they often fail before launching. Both Cassie and Retriever feature fewer moving parts and move along predefined paths. The company wants to expand its functionality by offering manual control and a follow-me mode. Additionally, the robots use infrared and depth sensors as well as advanced AR to navigate around an owners’ home.
However, the robots aren’t ready for consumer use yet. That’s because adding an automated system to a home can be problematic. Plus, they must not make mistakes while assisting those with mobility challenges. In February 2021, Labrador began piloting Caddie in people’s homes. The company plans to carry out more tests later on and wants to start fully producing the machines by the second half of 2023.
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