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Meet Butlr, the robot butler
While robots have been getting more lifelike, lurching unpleasantly towards the Uncanny Valley, there’s something to be said for the old cylindrical bin on wheels that science fiction told us would be all the rage one day. If it was good enough for C3PO’s best friend, it’s good enough for us, and that’s why we were cheered to see that the Aloft hotel in Cupertino, California, has an adorable new hire on its books. Readers, meet Butlr, the robot butler.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, the Aloft hotel takes pride in being at the edge of tech innovations, as its clientele would hope. Butlr has been delighting guests by bringing them small items like towels, toothpaste, candy and razors. Fortunately, it’s not getting the latter two mixed up, either.
Butlr has a tablet on which hotel staff enter a security code, preventing guests from taking control of him for their own twisted ends. The room number is then entered, and Butlr uses the hotel’s Wi-Fi to call a lift and head on his way. It announces its arrival via the guest room phone, so guests aren’t disturbed by a persistent robotic knocking at the door.
When the guest greets it, a service hatch on the robot butler’s head opens up, revealing the delivery.
“We’re in the middle of Silicon Valley where it’s pretty much tech central, so we try to do the newest and greatest things. This came out of that,” Derrick Agas, front desk supervisor at Aloft told Computer World.
“People love it. One family was staying here and their daughter really wanted to see it work. She loved it so much she wrote a letter. When she walked up to it, I opened the door so she dropped the letter inside and I hit the shimmy button so it did a little dance for her. She had the biggest smile on her face,” he continued.
The robot butler has been in service at the hotel for a year, and Agas says he doesn’t know of a single complaint made about the little guy. That or people keep leaving angry letters in his service hatch which keep “going missing” on the way back to the front desk.
Seriously, watch the video below and try not to have a smile on your face by the end. If we owned a hotel chain, this robot butler would be our first hire.