Having led the Harvard-MIT robotics team, Erik Schluntz is now on the forefront the smart robot...
Design matters: the philosophy behind Cobalt’s design
One of the many Fuseproject sketches for the design of the Cobalt Robot.
As robotics and AI impact more of our daily lives, design considerations must include how to make these technologies more accessible. This has been the very essence of Cobalt Robotics’ approach to the physical security industry—seeking to both extend the natural abilities of security professionals and improve public perception of robotics in security.
Develop a context-specific robotic solution to an industry problem
Cobalt engineered a solution to a problem that has beleaguered security professionals for decades: how can security teams monitor facilities during the most monotonous shifts in a way that is situationally aware and responsive?
Cobalt uses self-driving technology, 60+ sensors, and telepresence to scale the abilities of a human security guard, and in multiple locations at once. If an anomaly is detected, the remote Robot Specialist receives a notification. This way, human decision-making works hand-in-hand with intelligent, automated patrols.
The Cobalt robot can do this because it’s designed to work with people on a daily basis. The robot’s non-humanoid shape blends in with an office environment, and it stands at 5’1”, a standard cubicle height, so that it can perform in a range of environments.
Foster positive human-robot interactions
To us, cultural acceptance of robots is the most significant barrier to seeing more of them in the world. Our design intentionally deviates from standard Hollywood depictions, which have deeply influenced how the public perceives robots.
For example, a tensile fabric skirt covers the robot’s semi-cylindrical self-driving mechanism, sensors, and cameras. The fabric provides functional advantages such as better airflow, and also helps convey a soft and friendly appearance. A tablet allows people to easily see and communicate with a Specialist and a badge reader below it scans employee ID cards.
Cobalt’s robot reflects our goal to bring design and engineering principles together in a way that makes robots both a more useful and a more welcome part of our everyday lives. They can replace mundane, repetitive tasks and enhance the human experience, empowering people to do the things they do best.