In 1937, the very first shopping cart was invented by Sylvan Goldman, owner of the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain in Oklahoma City. The intent was to simplify and assist the customer experience. Before the shopping cart, there were only hand-held baskets.
Today, thanks to Five Elements Robotics, the very first robo-handler has arrived. Budgee is a 3 ½ foot tall robot which follows you and carries up to 50 pounds of whatever items you wish.
Budgee can be controlled automatically by transmitter, using both sonar and ZigBee. The transmitter is small enough to carry in your pocket or even be potentially clipped on your belt or handbag. It can also be controlled manually via your Smartphone or Tablet.
Budgee will also alert your smartphone or tablet by speaking to you whenever it’s either out of range, its battery is too low or when it’s powering on. Its sensors are on the top of its head, and its eye color can be changed to your preference.
Budgee’s battery life is 6-8 hours, depending on how often you use it. For most cases this wouldn’t be a problem, from shopping in supermarkets to maxing out your credit cards in your local malls. Budgee is easily transportable, with the ability to collapse in itself and safely store in the trunk of your vehicle or backseat.
Five Elements Robotics is currently using Kickstarter to help crowdsource Budgee’s total funding of $100,000. They’re offering several different prizes to their backers, each depending on the level of support. Anywhere from being advertised in their Wall of Fame page online, to having the honor to meet and greet Budgee and its developers to owning your own personal limited edition Budgee before anyone else!
The company Five Elements Robotics stated their interest in mass-producing a retail version of Budgee. They would include sensors that would allow each customer to charge their credit or debit cards as they shopped. Prospective plans will allow Budgee “to climb stairs, navigate through rough terrain and expanded voice command capabilities.”
From there, the sky is the limit. Or is it? Imagine using similar robotic systems to help astronauts carry around mined samples and/or resources on other planets, or even during asteroid mining expeditions. This would surely fit the rough terrain navigation goal!
Or perhaps Budgee 2.0 will become more bipedal, walking right behind you while carrying your luggage, walking your dog, or even pushing your baby in a stroller. Your own personal assistant that doesn’t get tired, doesn’t complain and doesn’t need compensation.
Then again, in the next coming decades, will Budgee’s successors become sentient? Will it necessitate compensation for its labor? Will it begin demanding the right to collectively bargain and form a union? Will it become more than just your personal servant, but perhaps your friend, a lover or even someone you consider a part of your family?
Budgee may be a simple robo-handler today, but it’ll soon grow into something much more as our technology continues exponentially growing over the next coming years.
[youtube responsive=true id=”zImF9_7NTE4″ align=”left”]
Love our content? Join the Serious Wonder Community. It’s free, and we have lots of incentives for readers and contributors!