I remember the thread well. Here's the link to the site:
And here's the discussion where I and others dissect the videos,
especially the car stopping one:
Now where's that future-of-robotics site with the novel where
minimum-wage workers are told what to do by a robot through their
headset? It was posted here a couple months ago but I can't find it...
I did a system like this years ago for fulfilling grocery orders over the
The person has a device on their arm that has a laser barcode scanner, and
two way radio.
The computer tells you what to get, (Go to aisle 12, on the right, get 5
cans of Del Monte prunes, 8 Oz, place one in order 5, and four in order
nine) and the person scans what they pick up, verifying that they got the
right thing. They are picking 10 orders at once.
Checkout happens as the order is shopped, so when they are done shopping it,
they just put it in the holding bin for delivery.
The system was specifically designed to require NO training at all, even
managers could use it.
On Mon, 11 Apr 2005 13:51:00 -0500, "Dave VanHorn"
I found it, it's the online novel "Manna" at
http://marshallbrain.com/ - also relevant are the Robotic Nation
essays. Google groups shows this site was discussed here last year,
but I saw mention of it a month or three ago, perhaps on slashdot.
Not quite the same as in the novel, but similar enough, and
(presuming you have a good-enough solution to the traveling-salesman,
er, traveling order-picker problem) it sure appears efficient.
As far as it being the future, the author presumes that the vast
majority of low-paying jobs could be done this way.
It's great that even a manager could do it, but his real job is to
find someone else to do it, and of course he would never stoop that
low himself. Maybe he could get a salesman to do it.
We did demonstrate it that way.
Errors in picking will eat ALL your profits, in the grocery biz, and we
pretty much established that you'd have to be deliberately screwing up, to
make errors with this system.
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