Agility Robotics Unveils Bipedal Humanoid Robot: A Giant Leap in Warehouse Automation

Agility Robotics, a leading robotics company, is set to revolutionize the world of warehouse automation with its latest creation – a bipedal humanoid robot named Digit. During their appearance at the recent TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, Agility CEO Damion Shelton and CTO Melonee Wise shed light on the company’s vision for the future of robotics.

Digit, with its pair of arms and legs, is designed to seamlessly navigate through environments originally intended for humans. Shelton explains, ‘If you start with an environment that was designed for people, a robot that can move easily through that environment would end up with arms and legs.’ This approach not only ensures the robot’s efficiency in performing warehousing tasks but also aligns with the safety guidelines set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

However, what sets Digit apart is the addition of a pair of eyes. While these eyes are not used for visual perception, they play a crucial role in facilitating communication. Wise explains, ‘Having the eyes gives you a sense of where the robot is about to go. It helps to direct the human gaze to areas of the robot that are important for them to care about – for example, the LED ring that’s on the sides of the head. And things like that so that people see Digit is in a good state and excited to be in the world.’

Digit boasts an impressive carrying capacity of approximately 35 lb (~12 kg) and can reach heights of up to 4.5 feet (~1.4 meters). Although it has the potential to reach even higher, the design is optimized for the requirements of warehouses, where humans typically handle objects within reachable heights. Shelton emphasizes, ‘OSHA applies to worker safety. And if a robot is in its environment, in a person’s environment, that’s a worker. So the robot has to comply with safety related to that worker.’

Addressing concerns surrounding weaponization of robots, Agility Robotics, in collaboration with other leading robotics companies, issued an open letter condemning the weaponization of general-purpose robots. This stance aligns with the principles laid out by Isaac Asimov, the renowned science fiction writer who proposed the famous Three Laws of Robotics.

Overall, Agility Robotics’ Digit represents a significant advancement in the field of warehouse automation. By creating a robot that complements human environments and ensures compliance with safety regulations, Agility Robotics is proving that robots can be valuable allies in the workplace, rather than job-stealing adversaries.

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