Robots have long been something we are absolutely fascinated by. Whether you’re talking about an R2D2 that delivers beer or a robot that spies on pirates there is something we love about these creations.
Of course for the most part, except for the automotive industry robots that are actually helping us accomplish something are few and far between. The library at the University of Chicago is one of the first such buildings that have incorporated the use of robots to such a degree. The Chicago University library has actually fully automated the book retrieval process as long as you are willing to work ahead and reserve the books on the computer ahead of time.
Joe and Rika Mansueto Library is now completely automated and according to the library this is a way to do away with the frustrations of trying to find a book when it is not exactly where the computer system says it will be. Of course, this means that the people at the University of Chicago have apparently given in to kids who can’t understand the Dewey decimal system. Despite the fact that the entire system seems to be a nod towards either the lazy, or the less than educationally gifted it’s still a pretty interesting system.
Students and guests who are given library cards can log onto the library computer system and simply browse through their massive collection online. Then the user selects the books they need and chooses when they need the books, giving the robots a little bit of time to collect and deposit the selected books. The robots themselves are actually fairly similar to those being used in automotive plants in that they are basically arms with pincers that pick the books out and place them into bins that are attached to the cranes. Of course this massive undertaking probably isn’t one that will be mirrored by other school libraries in the very near future but it is an interesting glimpse into a different kind of system that could be adopted by other facilities eventually. The futuristic Mansueto Library opened this week among quite a bit of fanfare. The cost of the robotic project as well as the glass and steel dome that tops the building have not yet been released.