Amazon Submitted A Patent To Create A "Shark Cage" To Protect Human Workers From Robots

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 - 12:03PM
Technology
Robotics
Tuesday, 11 September 2018 - 12:03PM
Amazon Submitted A Patent To Create A "Shark Cage" To Protect Human Workers From Robots
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When Amazon isn't planning on creating drone beehives in cities or treating its human workers like robots, it's apparently developing patents for the upcoming robot-controlled, dystopian nightmare-future: a patent has surfaced for a cage that would protect humans from roaming robots while working in the same building.

Now, these robots wouldn't be explicitly programmed to kill. Because they need to be moving around large amounts of stock, the robots are usually big and powerful, which makes them dangerous. In fact, Amazon current has chain-link fences surrounding some of its moving robots to make sure people don't get in their way, with a built-in failsafe to shut off the robot when someone enters its area. The idea behind the new cage patent was to allow robots freedom of movement without having to worry about humans wandering about: the cages would be mounted on a moving trolley that would ferry the human passengers through the robots' work area, ensuring there was no way for someone to get inadvertently crushed.



Of course, creating the equivalent of a robot shark cage for human workers doesn't exactly inspire a sense of safety – it sounds like a high-tech version of Jurassic Park. Even Amazon's Senior Vice-President of Operations, Dave Clark, acknowledged that it was a pretty dumb idea: in a Tweet, he said "Sometimes even bad ideas get submitted for patents. This was never used and we have no plans for usage. We developed a far better solution which is a small vest associates can wear that cause all robotic drive units in their proximity to stop moving."

As far as fuel for Black Mirror episodes goes, this cage patent is second only to Google's patent to create digital neck tattoos integrated with tiny microphones, which can allow communication with connected devices... And double as lie detectors.
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