This is Lynx, a brand new (and very slick) little mobile robot from Adept. It was officially introduced at the Automate show in Chicago this week, and it's designed to move stuff from one place to another without you having to worry much about what people or things may be in between.
Adept has always been good at making robots that can navigate around environments filled with unpredictable people. We put a GoPro on one of 'em at ICRA last year, and it wandered around the entire exhibit hall by itself without any problems. This is what Lynx can do for you, too, without you having to come up with some sort of complicated and expensive deployment plan or infrastructure: just set it loose, load it up with 60 kilos of whatever you want, tell it where to go, and forget about it.
Here's some specs:
- Weighs 60 kg, can haul 60 kg
- 13 hour run time, 3.5 hour recharge time, autonomous recharging on dock
- Turning radius of zero degrees thanks to differential steering
- Maximum speed of about 4 mph, or 0.0000000056 light speed
- Programmable voice and audio prompts
- Optional joystick for shenanigans
We actually got a little sneak peek at the Lynx at IROS back in November, but we weren't allowed to tell you about it. At that point, it was just called the MP60, and it had an uptime of just 10 hours as opposed to 13. We did learn, however, that those circular panels on the sides are backed by LEDs that can be programmed to indicate the behavior of the robot (or what the robot is "thinking"), and that you'll be able to add 'skins' to it if you want to change its appearance.
Adept also made a point of saying that they would not be introducing this robot as, um, a robot. And if you read the press release, the Lynx is not specifically referred to as one. The product brochure for the Lynx doesn't even contain the word "robot." This may seem a bit weird to those of us who like robots and are comfortable with them, but in the markets that Lynx is designed to break into, robots come with a lot of perceptual baggage. If instead you throw "autonomous" right in there with the name, it's much easier to think of something that just runs itself.
We're not quite sure how much Lynx costs, but it's probably one of those things where if you're concerned that it might be too expensive for you, it almost certainly is.
[ Adept Lynx ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.