Robots refill your computer printer with paper

In the future, robots may refill your computer printer with paper.

Has your computer printer ever run out of paper? Running out of paper could mean searching your house, apartment, or office to see if you've got any paper, it's time-consuming and frustrating. If you don't have any, it means a trip to the store to buy more! In the future, office buildings may have several different kinds of office service robots patrolling the hallways. One type of office service robot will be a paper-refill robot. This will be a robot, on wheels, that can drive through the hallway of your building, find your office, and deliver the paper to you,.

The illustration above shows a typical office service robot, equipped to deliver packages of paper.

The robot would be powered by batteries, and would be guided by a machine-vision system. This machine-vision system would have at least one camera, connected to an on-board computer. The vision system allows the robot to find rooms, find elevators, and to avoid obstacles. The top of the robot has a rotating head, which is basically a turret that contains a robot arm. The robotic arm will be extended, so the robot can put a cartridge of paper into your computer printer. The robot won't just drop off a package of paper on your desk, it will actually remove the empty cartridge from you computer printer, and insert a full cartridge, automatically! It would also be capable of refilling the paper cartridges on photo-copy machines.

The illustration above shows a robot holding a cartridge full of paper, for a computer printer.

To use the robot, you would have to call the robot service company that provides the robots that serve your building. They will ask you what type of service you need. You will hear a recorded message on the phone that says, "If you need a recycling robot to pick up trash or recyclable materials, press one. If you need a food service robot, press two. if you need a robot to refill the ink cartridges on your computer printer, press three. If you need a robot to refill your computer printer or photo-copy machine with paper, press four. If you need some other type of robot, please stay on the line and an operator will be with you, shortly."

After pushing button three, another recording asks you what your room number is. For example, if your room number is 254, push 2 on your phone keypad, then push 5, then push 4. You can also pay for the robot's services by phone, by dialing in your credit card number.

The illustration above shows a robot putting a paper-refill cartridge into a computer printer.

Using robots to handle paper in office buildings reduces labor costs, since robotic services cost less than human labor. Using robots to handle paper also reduces loss of paper due to theft, since an obedient robot is incapable of theft. Paper-handling robots will be a useful addition to the wide range of office service robots in the future.

Anthony Ratkov, December 17, 2012.

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