Somatic is an autonomous robot designed to perform the arduous task of cleaning public restrooms for the rest of its life. He spends the day cleaning the bathrooms in various New York offices. He does not tire or complains because he is a robot, despite the fact that his salary is half of what they would pay him if he were human.
The Somatic robot is a kind of box with four wheels from which comes a robotic arm in charge of vacuuming and cleaning the floor. It also has other smaller dispensers to pour water under pressure, detergents, and other substances on the surfaces to be cleaned. It operates completely autonomously once it has learned the bathroom in which it must clean.
Its creators indicate that the robot is designed to work in airports, offices, shopping centers and similar places where there are bathrooms with a large influx of people. At the moment it is already operating in several offices in New York.
Unlike other robots, Somatic’s cannot be bought. Instead he is hired, with a 40-hour-a-week contract like any other employee . The difference is that his salary is $ 1,000, while a human in similar situations and context could earn more than $ 2,000. According to the manufacturer, all that is needed is to give the robot water and electricity to do its job.
The bathroom as an ideal place to train a robot
Training a robot is a difficult task, regardless of how many skills Boston Dynamics possesses. One example is the robot that, despite hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, still does not know how to make a pizza. But, according to Somantic, it is a little easier in the field of public restrooms.
Bathrooms, as its creators explain to TechCrunch, have the peculiarity of always being designed in a very similar way, with the elements found in a bathroom almost always being the same. Furthermore, there are no loose or movable parts. In other words, if the robot practices cleaning in a few public restrooms, it will be able to clean in virtually any public restroom simply by knowing the bathroom map.
This “unique design” has allowed its creators to train the robot in a new bathroom using virtual reality and remotely . When the robot first arrives in a new bathroom, its creators connect to it and “clean” the bathroom once so that the robot learns how. From there you already have a 3D mapping of the space and you can do it on your own next time.
The robot routinely cleans the bathroom and combines that task with recharging itself and refilling itself with more detergent and other necessary resources. He completes his eight-hour workday and starts over the next day. And the 1,000 dollars a month, for its creators.