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This autonomous robot wants to replace cleaning crews in offices

This autonomous robot wants to replace cleaning crews in offices

The Somatic company has created a robot that automatically cleans company bathrooms. It just released a new update that shows how it can move between floors, enter cubicles, and even lift toilet seats independently.

In English, some robotics specialists like to talk about the three Ds: dangerous, dirty, boring. These three adjectives describe dangerous, dirty and boring tasks that are perfect for robots to automate. For example, cleaning toilets, even if it’s not a dangerous job.

Here is the Somatic robot that cleans company toilets in total autonomy. He is able to ride the elevator himself, manipulate the handles to open doors, and wash the floor, walls, toilets (even under the counters), and urinals with different tools such as a disinfectant spray and a vacuum cleaner.

Somatic just released this new video showcasing the latest features of their robot. © Somatic

A robot trained using virtual reality

Somatic doesn’t provide many details on their site, but in a presentation in 2020, its CEO Michael Levy explained the setup process at the time. The company requesting a robot first receives a box containing video and Lidar sensors. Someone will have to follow the path from the closet where the robot will be stored when it is not in use to the various toilets to be cleaned. The box records everything, including using the elevator and opening the doors.

Then, one of Somatic’s employees uses a virtual reality headset that shows a copy of the toilet created from the recordings and performs all cleaning tasks there. The process is described as ” the worst video game in the world », but the robot will then reproduce these gestures. It is not designed to completely replace the cleaning staff, as it will send them a photo of the problem if something goes wrong. Somatic is already marketing its robot for $1,000 a month, for eight hours a day, forty hours a week.

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