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Brief Published: 21 Mar 2017

Cobalt: Co-operative Security Robot

Californian start-up Cobalt Robotics has unveiled an indoor security robot called Cobalt, designed with Yves Béhar’s US-based studio Fuseproject. The low-profile robot improves security procedures in office environments and can also fulfil a concierge role.

Equipped with autonomous-car technology such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms, Cobalt patrols spaces using computer vision and path planning, just as a self-driving car would on a highway. Sensor technology can detect anomalies such as open windows or trespassers, and ranges from 360-degree day and night cameras and laser scanners to carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

Bearing more of a resemblance to office furniture than a robot, Cobalt’s semi-cylindrical shape has a fabric skin that prevents overheating. An aluminium display area with a camera eye curves along the front and functions as a badge scanner and control panel.  

The robot can either respond autonomously, or initiate a video connection to a remote Cobalt employee for real-time human assistance. In the future, Cobalt Robotics anticipates its robots will be able to assist with checking-in guests and supporting different workplace departments, such as IT or facility management.

See our A/W 18/19 Design Direction Amplify, which explores robotics taking on friendly and unobtrusive characteristics. For more ‘soft’ tech aesthetics, see CMF Industry View: Personal Electronics.