Sci-Tech

Robotic librarian finds lost books, won't tell you to shush

A mobile robotic system is in development to take over the menial job of patrolling the stacks and inventorying the books.

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A*STAR

Every job has its more boring components. In libraries, one of those jobs is scanning the shelves, looking for missing and misplaced books, and taking stock of what's available. For human workers, this is time-consuming, repetitive and boring, all of which can contribute to wandering attention.

The autonomous robotic shelf-scanning platform, or AuRoSS, is in development by the Institute for Infocomm Research of Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research. It uses laser mapping to navigate a library, and RFID tags placed on books to scan the collection. It can work at night, tracking the shelves in real-time to locate lost and missing books, with 99 percent scanning accuracy, even with curved shelves.

"During the re-opening of Pasir Ris Public Library, we put on a public demonstration and received very positive reactions," said researcher Renjun Li in a statement. "We are improving the robustness and analytics engine and integrating into library operations."