(Photo: Cobalt Robotics CEO and co-founder Travis Deyle stands with one of the company’s security robots on the GSX floor. A Cobalt robot specialist is calling in remotely via video chat.)
Released by Cobalt Robotics – a manufacturer of intelligent security robots used to autonomously patrol indoor facilities – the new technology allows the robots to detect leaks and spills within a predefined area. Once detected, the security robot can then send the appropriate notification to a robot specialist.
Travis Deyle, co-founder and CEO of Cobalt Robotics, says the spill and leak detection technology was inspired by a real-time oversight.
- At one site that had a Cobalt robot, janitorial staff had already been through a certain area and left a wet spot behind without signage.
- An engineer working at the site late at night then slipped and fell on the floor.
- Another site had a pipe burst, causing a loss in sales since the site had to be closed for days.
“Being able to detect those things early so you can respond is a big deal,” Deyle says.
The security robot’s mission is to detect anything irregular in a facility more capably than surveillance cameras and more cost-effectively than hiring a night guard.
Among its features are powerful sensors, including day-night cameras, thermal sensors, motion sensors and badge readers. Environmental sensors can also detect things like temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
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“This robot is moving around your interior spaces and building up models of what is normal and then looking for anomalies,” says Deyle, “which are things like people, motion, sounds, leaks and spills, open doors, open windows – anything that’s out of the ordinary.”
Sometimes the robots can respond automatically, but most of the time, it remotes in a specialist from Cobalt who appears via video chat. That person can then get rapid context for what’s going on and make decisions, Deyle explains. He adds that that allows for consistency, reliability, accountability and unwavering attention – while also making room for the flexibility, friendliness and decision-making of a person.
“It’s melding the best of both to provide this coverage at times when it just wasn’t cost-effective before,” Deyle says.
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Although Cobalt specialists operate the robot, they are still communicating with facilities staff. Deyle says implementation varies from company to company, but one way to ensure optimum communication is giving a Cobalt specialist access to a facility’s management system to put in a ticket on the staff’s behalf. If it’s something more urgent like a burst pipe, the specialist can call on-site support.
Initial demand for Cobalt Robotics was in commercial office spaces, but the technology is also suited for manufacturing sites, data centers, warehouses, schools, museums and more.
“As we think about the future of the workplace and smart buildings, the robot is a compelling piece of that,” Deyle says. “It’s the ability to take the most capable-edged device you have and relocate it on demand within your building to address situations as they happen, or in advance.”
Valerie Dennis Craven contributed to this article with reporting from GSX.
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