|A new mopping robot called Whiz, is set to be release by Softbank, which focuses on mopping workplace and business area floors / Photo by Miki Yoshihito via Flickr|
SoftBank was in the news recently when they unveiled their new robot. Unlike the one that made headlines a few years ago, this one focused on more mundane aspects in the workplace. The previous robot that made SoftBank popular was Pepper, who could talk to people about certain topics and was designed to be a sales assistant on the shop floor. While it didn’t catch on at the time, SoftBank never stopped their jump into the world of robotics. Their new robot, Whiz, focuses on mopping floors in the robot's general vicinity.
This new autonomous floor-cleaning machine was made and designed for the workplace and business area. The robot weighs over 32 kilograms and is powered by self-driving software as well as sensors from Brain Corp, a San Diego-based startup that is part of the Vision Fund of SoftBank. This would essentially allow it to maneuver and work its way around the different areas of the office, as well as moving people in the vicinity. Brain doesn’t create their own hardware, and focuses on developing their own software that makes machines work better in heavily populated areas. Eugene Izhikevich, the founder and chief executive of Brain, stated, “At Brain, we want to see the future where robots are everywhere. We want to enable this revolution.” The robot comes with many features on top of this, like a handle that allows its users to ‘teach' it the layout of the area that needs cleaning. It also has a laser range finder, 3D camera, collision sensor, and a battery that lasts up to three hours.
Currently, the company has plans to release this new robot for business owners and regular customers alike in February of next year in Japan. It will be available for rent for 25,000 yen or $222 dollars a month.