Amazon has patented a robot designed to act as a mobile electrical outlet that would seek out low-battery phones and other mobile devices.
Whether it looks like a vaguely humanoid automaton or a glorified traffic cone, the robot that Amazon first patented in 2015 is, at its heart, no more than a portable charger. It could find you— whether by request, or the knowledge that one of your devices has less than a 10 percent charge remaining — and deliver a powered outlet for a small fee, a moment of your time to watch an ad, or completing a brief survey.
Airports, hotels, and shopping centers could all make ready use of the charger robot, ensuring customers don’t run out of juice at particularly inconvenient times. According to the patent’s description, the robot would be a handy way to avoid having to rely on fellow customers for assistance:
It can be quite inconvenient to a user when one of these devices runs out of battery power. This is especially true if the user does not have an available charging adapter for the device. Users may find themselves asking friends, or even strangers, to borrow a charging adapter.
As usual with such stories, this patent doesn’t guarantee anything will actually happen. After all, Amazon patented an airship to host their growing army of drones last year, yet the skyline remains reasonably free of fidget-spinner delivery blimps. Still, these particular little robots sound helpful — and profitable — enough to warrant more than a passing glance from the multi-billion dollar corporation.
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