Somatic is an autonomous robot that has been created with the purpose of doing the arduous task of cleaning public toilets throughout its life. In different offices in New York he spends the day leaving the bathrooms spotless. Being a robot, he does not tire or complain, despite the fact that his salary is half of what he would be paid if he were human.
The robot Somatic is a kind of box with four ruedes from which emerges a robotic arm manager vacuum and clean the floor. It also has other smaller dispensers to put pressurized water, detergents and other substances on the surfaces to be cleaned. It operates completely autonomously once you have learned the bathroom in which you must clean.
Its creators indicate that the robot is intended to work in airports, offices, shopping centers and similar places where there are toilets 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 purchased. Instead he is hired, with a 40-hour weekly contract like any 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 it takes is giving the robot water and electricity to do its job.
The bathroom as an ideal place to train a robot
Training a robot is not an easy task, for many skills that Boston Dynamics have. An example of this is the robot that after hundreds of millions of investment still does not know how to make a pizza. But according to Somantic, in the field of public toilets it is a little easier.
As their creators explain to TechCrunch , bathrooms have the peculiarity that they are designed in a very similar way always , the elements found in a bathroom are almost always the same. Also there are usually no loose or movable parts. In other words, if the robot practices in a few restrooms, it will know how to clean in practically any public restroom just by knowing the restroom 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 for the robot to learn how. From there you already have a 3D mapping of the space and you can do it yourself next time.
The robot routinely cleans the bathroom and combines that task with recharging energy and refilling with more detergent and other necessary resources. He completes his eight-hour workday and the next day begins again. And the 1,000 dollars a month, for its creators.