Kiva Robot Shelves Come To You In This Warehouse

Kiva Systems has robotic warehouse shelves that come to the workers, not the other way around. This "out of the box" thinking lets packers put orders in the box twice as fast.

Kiva has already installed their OrderFetch software and robotic shelves in two Staples warehouses; the company has announced that a third warehouse will be installed for retail giant WalMart.


(Kiva Robot Shelves on the move)

The basis of the Kiva Systems robotic warehouse is a short, hardworking orange robot; above it, a set of shelves contain items for shipping.

The Kiva OrderFetch system is aware of which packaging station requires which products. The shelves move themselves around from all over the warehouse, lining up for the packer to pick the necessary items. When the shelves are empty, they shuttle off to a station where human workers can fill them efficiently.

The system is also adaptable; when a particular product becomes popular, it is placed on more shelves and the shelves are kept closer to the packing stations. Also, workers who fill the shelves are instructed to put hot sellers in the middle shelves, where they are easiest to reach.

This system of letting the shelves move, leaving the packers in one place, reminds me of the CirculaFloor smart tile computer interface for gaming. With CirculaFloor, it is the floor tiles that move, letting the gamer stay in one place.


(From CirculaFloor from VRLab University of Tsukuba)

As the gamer walks forward in the game (seen in the 3D goggles), the floor tile that he has just stepped off from zooms around and then positions itself where he will step next. See CirculaFloor - Smart Tile Holodeck? for more information.

Take a look at a cool video of Kiva Systems OrderFetch robot shelves; via MIT Technology Review. See a CirculaFloor video.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/12/2007)

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