Robots Join Library Workforce

Kristan T Harris | The Rundown Live

librarybotsNew workers with a friendly appeal will eventually be coming to a public library near you and they’re not human. The androids have blinking eyes, dance moves, looks in the direction of whoever is speaking and can talk in up to 19 different languages. The Westport Connecticut library has chosen to name their robots “Vincent” and “Nancy”.

The robots have various abilities including facial recognition, ability to react appropriately to verbal conversation, and right themselves after a fall.

“Vincent” and “Nancy” will begin walking around the Westport Library, where officials next week will announce the recent acquisition of the pair of humanoid “NAO Evolution” robots, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Westport location will be the first library in the country to purchase and have acquired these droids.

The robots are made by French company, Aldebaran, originally with the intention to teach coding and computer programming skills.

Aldebaran has mostly been selling these units to museums and schools.

“Robotics is the next disruptive technology coming into our lives and we felt it was important to make it accessible to people so they could learn about it,” said Maxine Bleiweis, executive director of the Westport Library. “From an economic-development perspective and job- and career-development perspective, it’s so important.”

Could teachers be replaced by similar androids?

Alex Gianinni, the library’s “Manager of digital experience”,  has been programming “Vincint” and “Nancy” to do things like “kick a ball” and practice “tai chi”.


The Wall Street Journal states:

Westport isn’t the only public library with robots. In May, the Chicago Public Library, in partnership with Google Inc., GOOGL -1.33% made 500 “Finch” robots available to patrons at six of its branches. The dot-eyed, half-domed machines, the size of dinner plate on wheels, are also used to teach computer programming and coding.

Aldebaran said it has sold about 6,000 robots world-wide, mostly to museums and schools. At nearly $8,000 a machine, the NAO Evolution models, which were acquired by Westport with private funds, cost considerably more than the Finch machines, which run $99 each..

Another droid, Jibo the”family robot” will be voyaging to homes near you in 2015 as we reported, here. “Robots are Coming to a Home Near You“.