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Product-stacking ceiling robot

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Read the first paragraph of "Tescopolis" [link] first.

It appears that grocery store employees are no longer paid well enough to stack products into various interesting shapes.

I propose that a robot take on this role. I envision a robot that drives around on the ceiling, as has recently been discussed in this establishment, held up by vacuum or by magnets, with a winch and long cord hanging down, tipped with a gripper or suction head. The employees just need to bring out a pallet of a given product from the back room, and the robot will stack said product in an artistic way near the entrance of the store. It lifts up one item at a time and then places it on the arrangement. To mitigate swinging, either it can raise the item all the way up to its body, carry it at that level, and then lower it straight down, or it can actively control the suspended load like a helicopter moving Christmas trees [link].

When it isn't busy enough for making big arrangements near the entrance, it can roam around the store, putting misplaced products back where they belong and stacking other products in interesting ways on their shelves.

N/A [2019-06-30]

notexactly, Jul 01 2019

Tescopolis by [xenzag]. The first paragraph there inspired this idea [notexactly, Jul 01 2019]

Active suspended load control by human helicopter pilot moving Christmas trees https://www.youtube...watch?v=08K_aEajzNA
One of many videos showing this activity. The robot could use a similar technique [notexactly, Jul 01 2019]

This... https://www.youtube...watch?v=6RKXVefE98w
..is what you are looking for: a pick-&-place robot. The best ones move SCARY fast. [neutrinos_shadow, Jul 01 2019]

[link]






       Category Culture: Art: Automated ?
8th of 7, Jul 01 2019
  

       // This is what you are looking for //   

       No. Too fast and scary to put in a store. I did think of a gantry crane, though not a delta robot, but discarded it due to cost and practicality reasons. A delta wouldn't be able to move items from the door to the back room to near the front entrance on its own, too. Also, I want something customers are only 20% likely to notice, and that they'll think is amusing if they do.   

       // Category Culture: Art: Automated ? //   

       Good point. I just left it in the category of the inspiring idea because it was already chosen when I clicked "add", thinking it was good enough for now, better than Other: General at least. I'll move it now.
notexactly, Jul 01 2019
  

       //..door... to back room...//
So mount it on an overhead rail system. I can't find a good link, but automation like you want is a well-advanced field.
As for customers, I think they WILL notice a robot stacking products and want to watch closer, so it's working area will need to be roped off.
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 02 2019
  

       How about just on a track? Much more energy efficient.
RayfordSteele, Jul 02 2019
  

       // Too fast and scary to put in a store. //   

       <Obligatory Jedi mind-trick hand gesture/>   

       "These aren't the droids you're looking for".
8th of 7, Jul 02 2019
  

       // So mount it on an overhead rail system. //   

       Then it could only stack things directly under the rail, unless it was a delta robot or robot arm or something hanging from the rail. A robot capable of driving freely on the ceiling can stack things anywhere, producing 3D arrangements instead of just walls, with only a vertical cord on a winch.   

       // As for customers, I think they WILL notice a robot stacking products and want to watch closer //   

       It will be pretty slow, so most of them will watch for a few seconds and go back to their shopping, and check on it again in 30 seconds or so. Some will watch closely, sure.   

       // so it's working area will need to be roped off. //   

       No, because it's slow and soft.
notexactly, Jul 02 2019
  

       //..directly under the rail...//
I meant hang a full pick-n-place from a rail. Locked in place on the ceiling to do it's work, free to move to other places when needed.
//pretty slow... ..soft//
So, you want a person, not a robot... otherwise, what's the point here? Robots are used where they are BETTER than people, not worse.
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 02 2019
  

       Robots are also used where they're cheaper and more willing than people.
notexactly, Jul 02 2019
  

       On the one hand, yes.
But on the other, the system you're wanting would NOT be cheap... I think the programming would be the most complicated/expensive part.
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 03 2019
  

       Sure, but once that's done, it can be sold (or more likely the service it provides can be sold) to stores pretty inexpensively.
notexactly, Jul 03 2019
  
      
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