Bang Design

Invento Mitra Robot

Robotic Technology, Human Experience
Invento Robotics, a Bangalore based startup, looked to reinvent the concierge experience. One that would put India on the global map of technology leaders. And to achieve that, they came up with the idea of a Humanoid Robot.
In India, an estimated 28 million people visit malls at an average over weekdays and weekends. An opportunity for a concierge who could answer queries and guide shoppers.
Most mall concierges are either bored or too tired to answer the questions. Questions that may appear repetitive and tedious given the huge footfall size.
And poor customer service is one of the resons shoppers quote when asked why they want to stay away from a mall!
Invento Robotics visualized a concierge free from human constraints: fatigue and boredom. One that would answer queries in a consistent manner no matter how repetitive or how many! And they wanted it to have a personality: asexual, friendly and inviting.
That’s what they had in mind when they approached Bang Design. Design and deliver a humanoid robot that meets their requirements and could be built on a BoM (Bill of Materials) largely consisting of COGS.

Project Insights

As the device was going to be first in class, it was important that,

1. The Mitra appears welcoming to people, young and old alike.

2. Avoid hurting others who would share the crowded mall walkways.

3. Be stable and robust enough to withstand rough handling by excited kids.

Cute but not Kiddish

Mitra had to appear friendly and welcoming. Invento envisaged the personality of a grown child, neither male nor female overly in appearance. And we stepped up to the task of creating a face that would look cute, not a kid nor an adult but welcoming to everyone. In some senses, Mitra would be C3PO, but in real life!

Humanizing the Experience

Mitra’s main purpose was to guide shoppers and visitors to their preferred destinations in the mall, giving information about offers along the way. And we aimed to make it as easy as possible for them to achieve that. Mitra would introduce itself through a series of facial gestures, arm movements and audio instructions to guide the users to the interactive touch screen we had placed on its chest. We added multi colour LEDs around the pupils which could change colors to reflect Mitra’s responses mimicking human moods.

Easy to Use

India has a variety of languages and while most mall visitors speak English, it’s not their preferred tongue. We strove to make the information delivery as easy as possible by adding a Tab on its chest. People, young and old, were used to handling a tab and the familiar experience helped them interact better with it.

Robust yet friendly

Being India’s first humanoid robot, we expected it to be handled in a variety of ways. From gingerly trying out to some boisterous handling by exited kids. The robot had to take everything dished out and with a smile.
We knew two primary challenges: sturdiness of the frame and stability of the body. We solved the first by designing contoured plastic panels mounted on a welded armature. To prevent Mitra from toppling, we created a large wheelbase and added forward and reverse guiding castors. This would eliminate toppling either at the hands of people or from unevenness of the surface travelled.

Safe for Others

Mitra stops when people are nearby. This prevents inadvertent bumping and injury especially if little kids are involved. And to achieve this we used a combination of the onbody cameras and ultrasound sensors that we placed around its skirt.
Qualities that helped Invento Robotics attract the attention of PM Narendra Modi who unveiled it at the Global Entrepreneur forum hosting Ivanka Trump, the Special Envoy of the then US President Donald Trump!

Key Tasks Accomplished

1. Concept Development

2. Enclosure Design

3. Prototype Design

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