Sunday, January 2, 2011

Diapers and Robots

What do diapers and robots have in common? According to Wired, the answer is warehouses are a bit of a jumble. Boxes of pacifiers sit above crates of onesies, which rest next to cartons of baby food. In a seeming abdication of logic, similar items are placed across the room from one another. A person trying to figure out how the products were shelved could well conclude that no form of intelligence—except maybe a random number generator—had a hand in determining what went where.

But the warehouses aren’t meant to be understood by humans; they were built for bots. Every day, hundreds of robots course nimbly through the aisles, instantly identifying items and delivering them to flesh-and-blood packers on the periphery. Instead of organizing the warehouse as a human might—by placing like products next to one another, for instance—’s robots stick the items in various aisles throughout the facility. Then, to fill an order, the first available robot simply finds the closest requested item. The storeroom is an ever-shifting mass that adjusts to constantly changing data, like the size and popularity of merchandise, the geography of the warehouse, and the location of each robot. Set up by Kiva Systems, which has outfitted similar facilities for Gap, Staples, and Office Depot, the system can deliver items to packers at the rate of one every six seconds.
In related news, recently purchased So far this development has been a very good thing for us. After Christina signed me up as an Amazon mom, we were able to order pull-ups for less than Costco prices with free delivery right to our front door.

One final note on robots...Mikey is really, really into robots right now. So if any of you have any spare robots that you're not using, feel free to send them our way.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

wow, this explains a lot :-)