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Automated robotic librarian can ensure no book is misplaced

In the current digital age, it is very easy to download information instantly. However, much of the world knowledge remains in printed books.  The significant value associated with libraries has mandated librarians to try to digitize them to ensure quicker and easier access to books.

Computer systems have been used in cataloging libraries and have helped in easier and faster tracing of books. Often, reckless readers usually put books in the wrong spot, forcing librarians to search the entire library manually. To iron out this endeavors, researchers at A*STAR’s Institute for Infocomm Research, have designed robots that can self-navigate through libraries at night, scanning shelves for missing or out-of-place book and generating a report.

The robots use an autonomous robotic shelf-scanning (AuRoSS0 platform to scan RFID tags on the books and produce a report. In the morning when the human librarian reports for work he/she can check the results and see which books are in the wrong spot and where they belong. Human labor is still needed though it is far less time consuming to use the robots.

The wheeled robot uses ultrasonic sensors and laser to guide it through the stacks with precession down to the centimeter. The robot also has a small robotic arm that measures positioning errors and feeds this data to the mobile navigation unit to predict direction changes. Renjun Li, one of the researchers on the project, notes that they decided to detect the shelf surface and use it as a reference to plan the paths.

AuRoss was tested in libraries in Singapore, where it recorded up to 99% accuracy, even in the instances of curved shelves. The researchers noted that the system can easily incorporate different sensors including Bluetooth, cameras, and WI-FI and the system could be adapted for use in retail stores, warehouse, or in the Automotive industry, MedTech, and Aerospace.

Image credit:Gizmag

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