An ABB IRB 6640 robot that would typically be found in industrial settings performing such tasks as material handling, machine tending or spot welding, is performing luggage storage and retrieval duties at a new, so-called Yotel in Times Square West in Manhattan, USA, opened in June 2011.
The theatrically-lit robot, named YOBOT, is the central feature in the lobby, housed behind a secure glass enclosure where it picks up and stores guests' luggage in one of 117 lockers. When guests are ready to leave, they return their bar-coded receipt for the YOBOT to retrieve their bags.
YOBOT is mounted on a 5 m floor track, allowing it to move from the luggage hand-off opening to the base of the storage lockers, which are stacked nearly to the limit of the 14 ft ceiling, against two walls within the enclosed area.
The system, the only one of its kind in the world, is the vision of Yotel CEO Gerard Greene.
In addition to the YOBOT, other hightech features of the new Yotel include fully automated guest check-in and check-out at airline style self-service kiosks; while in Dohyo, the hotel's restaurant, hydraulic tables lower into the floor to create a performance area.
With 669 rooms (known as cabins) the new Yotel is the largest hotel opening in New York in 2011.
Author: Andrew Allcock