At New York City’s Yotel, luggage storage is managed not by a concierge but a robot – a first in the Big Apple. Featuring a robotic arm of the type found in factory assembly lines, the complex device was modified into a user-friendly system.  

Guests use a touchscreen to indicate the size and number of bags to be stored. Yobot has 117 compartments for 72 large and 45 small suitcases. The robotic arm transports an empty container to a drop-box guarded by metal bars for safety. The bars open, allowing the user to insert a bag, which is weighed by sensors. Yobot then returns the box to its compartment and issues a bar-code token to the guest. Hours or weeks later – use of the system is free for any amount of time – the customer scans the code and retrieves the bag.

‘We think form follows function, and we wanted to use industrial forms as art, rather than paintings or sculptures – that’s been done before,’ says Gerard Greene, CEO of Yotel, which collaborated with MFG Automation for the project. ‘Nobody else has a moving Yobot in the reception of their hotel.’ The concept suits tech-savvy Yotel, which has an automated check-in service as well.

Photos courtesy Frank Oudeman.

*Sneak peek! This project is featured in Frame #87. Click here to order!*