August 31, 2012      

Daily Mail?Worrying about how much to tip the bellboy could soon be a thing of the past.

A recently-opened New York City hotel?Yotel?part of a ?MIMA? or mixed-use development, located at 570 Tenth Avenue, between 41st and 42nd Streets, has a robot that takes care of the guests’ luggage. It may not offer a personal touch, but its efficiency is sure to impress.

The 20ft-tall robotic arm at the entrance to the Yotel hotel automatically places the suitcases in lockers for guests who want to wander round New York.


Yotel collaborated with MFG Automation to adapt a robotic arm normally used in factory assembly (ABB IRB 6640).

The theatrically-lit robot, appropriately named ?YOBOT?, is the central feature in the lobby, housed behind a secure glass enclosure where it picks up and stores guests? luggage in one of 117 lockers.

Using a touchscreen, guests enter the number and size of their bags. The robotic arm, named Yobot, then brings a container to a drop off area where the guest places the luggage and enters a pin number and last name.

The box is weighed and returned to the wall of lockers. Yobot issues a receipt with bar code for guests to submit when they want to pick up their bag.

The system is simple and adds to the tech friendly vibe of the hotel, says Gerard Greene, CEO of Yotel.

“We think form follows function, and we wanted to use industrial forms as art, rather than paintings or sculptures ? that?s been done before. Nobody else has a moving robot in the reception area of their hotel.”

Purple lighting, throbbing music in the elevators and futon-like sofas that transform to lie-flat beds at the touch of a button help also help to set a relaxed, and technologically-advanced, 21st century mood.

Yotel opened its first hotels in 2007 at London?s Heathrow and Gatwick airports, followed the next year by one at Amsterdam?s Schiphol airport.