The hospitality industry is a major employer in Europe. The project is designing a Human-Machine Interface e-textile jacket for the hospitality industry to control cart-bot robots serving drinks to customers who are waiting to check in at a hotel. The jacket also connects to the cloud where it can help the wearer manage their stress levels in the workspace and control the smart hotel environment through an embroidered touchpad on the arm of the jacket, controlling the Cart-Bot robot.
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
This project was conceived of under the theory that hotel staff suffer from high turnover due to the high-stress environment of hospitality. Hotel managers would be able to have a more ergonomic work range by using this jacket, when connected to the Smart hotel system. With its embroidered e-textile five buttons on the right sleeve it can be programmed to quickly change the hotel environment, giving hospitality managers ease with which to react to the ever changing environment. One of the fundamental services that can be “called” via the smart jacket, is a luxury, drink-carrying service robot with a high fashion design created to match the luxury hotel environment.
The Drinkbot robot reflects the décor, color scheme, and style of the majority of high-end luxury hotels: dark brown, amber, and warm gold metal echo the lobby, furniture, and panels. The luxury Drinkbot robot blends into any luxury hotel environment as a static bar, when not in motion, and does not look out of place when driving autonomously around.
“Christian came up with the idea of paneling for the robot because all of the luxury hotels have paneling reflected throughout the hotel environments. Ricardo suggested the gold drink mixing bars with their beautiful curved brass frames and marble. Taking into consideration these two design directions I decided the best way forward was to make the robot modular and easy to customize according to the client’s needs.” says Anina Net.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
Anina Net has been fascinated by the role that smart clothing plays in the smart city, smart home, smart office, smart hotel environment, because I feel that the mobile phone, iPads, computers, these terminals are incredibly limiting and they don’t lead to a very personalized face to face, eye to eye interactive approach to dealing with customers. She believes need to get beyond mobile phone screens and our eyes up, looking around at the world around us.
We chose to focus on the smart hotel environment because it is still to early for home-style enabled smart clothing. People do not yet know how to treat a tech-enabled garment. The suit jacket is something people still treat with respect and care, not to be wadded up and sat on or crumpled. It is for hanging up and kept in good condition.
We know that a lot of cloud companies, large and famous cloud companies, are enabling the hotels to become smart environments. They lack the knowledge of creating smart garments and high design robotics. Being part of the ecosystem, our hardware can be used together to extend and enhance their service to their hotel clients.
December 6TH, Anina Net flew to China to assemble the frame and mount it together with the robot. Then Corona Virus hit and China was under lockdown with all factories and supply chain stopped. It looked like this project was just not going to happen. Stopped dead in its tracks because of the pandemic. Then, Coronavirus hit everywhere. All engineers and our whole team were under lockdown and we had to work virtually in multiple time zones and multiple countries. Anina Net conducted the coordination between everyone and the factory. We are all super grateful to the Worth project for understanding this worldwide problem. At the same time, it’s just really great to have an incredible mentor like Ricardo Nacimiento, who every time I had a stuck point or I needed feedback, he was immediately there to offer his support.
The factory was first to come back online with only 30% workers in the whole plant. We were unable to get any acrylic, as the acrylic factory did not yet have permission to open up. Screws and other odds and ends were also not yet available. The factory was very kind to prioritize our small project and as the supply chain started opening up, we were able to move forward – we quickly got into manufacturing mode. Luckily, we had engineers that were stranded in Shenzhen who could help us coordinate with the aluminum factory for anodization, and we even had parts passed manually between people who had permission to travel when the flights began to work again.
The future is contactless, mobile and autonomous. Personalized service and an interface-less connectivity between clothing and the IoT environment is eminent. Customization, is the key to being able to serve many hotel clients of boutique hotels, and cost-to-value ratio. Robots will save hotels money in terms of menial tasks that humans are not needed to do (standing for hours in lobby on alert) and increase service to their guests. Connected clothing will reduce friction and stress for managers in terms of IT know-how and facing their guests and the ever changing environment. Currently, there are no luxury design robots or smart hotel jackets on the market, so cloud enabling partners such as Amazon, SAP, Cognizant, and more companies who need to offer new services to their hotel and luxury sector clients, can now have hardware solutions to present a total solution to their customers and attract new clients.
Smart clothing is really the next interface, very ergonomic and user friendly as people know where their arms are without having to look down. There are many places on the body that actually can become the control units. If we think about also having a IoT and wearable tech involved, such as smart rings, trackers, etc they also can be connected to control through gestures robots and the smart building environment.
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David Crawley is a roboticist who is passionate about helping others deliver innovative new products. He currently runs Ubiquity Robotics, a company that builds robots that help other robot entrepreneurs build robots and companies. Previously he’s helped companies and individuals get hardware and software products to market in record time in Semiconductors, Robotics, Industrial Equipment, and Consumer electronics. He’s a former McKinsey Consultant and is the author of the book “The People Equation” a guide to increasing innovation in your company. He holds a Ph.D. in Semiconductor Physics from the University of Cambridge, has awarded patents in the fields of Medical Imaging Technology, Optics, and Robotics, and has authored more than a dozen highly cited peer-reviewed papers.
- David Crawley
ANINA NET fashion technologist with over 10 years of experience in creating digital services and hardware products. She have been working in mass production and produced over 50 products for her own brand and for her clients, which are INTEL, IBM, NOKIA, and SAMSUNG. Anina Net is a fashion model and a technology entrepreneur. She has lived in China for 10 years. Her family are computer engineers and she is a leader in the fashion tech space worldwide.
- Anina Net
MOON Berlin. Freelance Fashion Designer since 2009, Christian will be handling all design related activities including, jacket design, robot appearance and design, concept and usability. Diplom-Designer (FH), nearly 10 years’ experience in Fashion Tech Experience/collaborations: Fraunhofer IZM, 360 Fashion, IBM, Siegfried Wagner Stiftung Bayreuth, Stanford University, Stretchable Circuits, Microsoft, Telekom, Alpha Industries and more.
- MOON Berlin