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U.S. Retailer Tries Keonn's AdvanRobot Tag-Reading Robot

The latest version of the AdvanRobot is designed to be operated with a cell phone, and can be folded up for storage or movement to another location.
By Claire Swedberg
May 03, 2016

Keonn Technologies has announced a new version of its RFID tag-reading robot, known as AdvanRobot, that its systems-integration partner plans to pilot with a large U.S. retailer later this spring. The newest version, made commercially available in January 2016, uses its built-in ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID reader and antennas, a laser sensor, a 3D camera and an onboard navigation system to report tag reads throughout a store. The system can also indicate where each tag was located when it was read, based on that tag's signal strength, and the robot's own understanding of its location on a map stored in the memory of its navigation system, as determined by sensor data collected from the laser and 3D camera.

The retailer, which has asked to remain unnamed, initially conducted limited tests on the robot for three months last summer. Now, says Ramir De Porrata-Doria, Keonn's co-founder and CEO, the company is launching a more extensive test of the latest version of the robot this year.

The AdvanRobot (shown here during a test that took place at a Roberto Verino store in Spain) uses its onboard navigation system to move about, while its RFID readers record the locations of merchandise within the vicinity.
Keonn has been developing and revising its AdvanRobot for several years while piloting the system with retailers, with the goal of creating a solution that is easy to use and transport, as well as effective at reading RFID tags while navigating its way around a store. Other companies offer RFID-enabled robots, though Keonn says its own robot is unique because it is simple for a store employee to operate it via a smartphone, and because of multiple other features that make it especially easy to use—including the 3D camera and laser sensor, zone-level mapping, long battery life and ease of transport. The system also provides tag location, along with inventory counts.

Keonn's Ramir De Porrata-Doria
"The main factor," De Porrata-Doria explains, "is not a technical one but a usability one. A robot is a technically sophisticated tool, but users should not have to have sophisticated or technical backgrounds to operate them."

Keonn, according to De Porrata-Doria, has been building improvements onto the robot that will make it easy for any sales clerk to operate it. If a sales associate is able to operate the robot to count inventory, he says, it will be used more frequently than one requiring IT knowledge or technical training on the part of the staff.

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