Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"Yobot" Proves an Early Hit with New Yorkers

The Independent: Yotel's Times Square New York property doesn't open for a couple of weeks, but it's already proving a popular attraction for passersby. The reason appears to be the Yobot, a robot tasked with storing luggage in lockers for guests, which is already at work at the hotel's location on W. 42nd St and 10th Avenue.

The giant arm, an evolution of the robots working in auto assembly plants, takes luggage from guests through a small opening and slides it into the right locker space. When the hotel is open, guests will be able to swipe their card and leave their luggage, but not before the robot has performed dipping, twisting and other acrobatics designed to make the experience more fun for guests.

Yobot (real name Service Ambassador) is being billed as the world's first luggage robot, with the added advantages that it's not rude, doesn't require a tip and hopefully won't drop your bags. The ingenuity of the idea has produced positive reactions from several travel blogs and writers, although it's been helped along the way by a clever viral video created to promote Yobot.

In it, two characters interview a series of famous robots for the baggage handling role, encountering some human-machine problems along the way - watch it at http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/45f86e443c/celebrity-robot-audition.

Yotel is currently slated to open to the public June 7.

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