66Views8Replies

Author Options:

Scholarship idea - Automated Store Inventory Manager Answered

The objective of my project would be to use the Create platform as a mobile platform to help manage inventory in a store like Walmart. The concept would be based on RFID. A reader would be mounted on the robot and it will detect passive tags on the products stacked in the shelves. The mobile platform would autonomously wander around the store after hours, collect and collate data and generate a reorder report at the end of its run, which would in turn be transmitted via RF to a PC. Implementation would be carried out such that it could be ported to a real world scenario. Also, it would ensure that all the stacks have been visited during its run.

Discussions

None
FrenchCrawler

12 years ago

Interesting idea... though how will you stop the robot from picking up the same tag twice (or more times)?

None
robot_challengeFrenchCrawler

Reply 12 years ago

Hey, thx! Well, the tag works like a barcode. Thus, it is uniquely identifiable. Thus, reading the same tag twice will not pose a problem!

None
FrenchCrawlerrobot_challenge

Reply 12 years ago

The barcode (SKU/UPC) is only unique for different items. Say that you have 3 shirts, two of them are the same style and size hence they share the same barcode, the 3rd shirt could be the same style, but a different size and would then have a slightly different barcode. But if you use RF to read the tags, how would you be able to determine how many times it read a tag when there are several like items together that need to be read? Also another question is: what if someone ripped off (by accident or on purpose) the tags and the bot couldn't detect those items?

None
robot_challengeFrenchCrawler

Reply 12 years ago

You are right when you say that similar items will have similar bar codes. However, for this project, I intend each item I wish to be identified to have unique tags. This is how it is presently being incorporated in stores like Walmart as well. Else, the technology would have no advantage over bar codes, apart from it not being line of sight. For the second question, I do not have an answer. If an item is missing a tag, it will not be detected by the bot. But, if you think about it, it will be the case should a human being with a hand held reader attempts to perform the same task! I appreciate you playing the devils advocate though. Has me thinking as well.

None
FrenchCrawlerrobot_challenge

Reply 12 years ago

So every item would have an unique tag? I'm not so sure that that would work all that too well. With the same tags for like items, it would cost less to buy the tags (especially in bulk), but if you were to make several thousand different tags, it would cost a bundle cause the tag company would have to change each and every tag. But if Walmart's doing it, it must be possible. As far as human readers needing to find a missing tag (I don't need to think about it :P ), we usually find another item that is the same type/size and scan that barcode in, or call for a sku check and one the the store associates would look up the sku on the computer. (Worked for an inventory service)

None
robot_challengeFrenchCrawler

Reply 12 years ago

RFID tags have an integrated circuit in them, which can be programmed. Thus, all tags are manufactured the same, they can be programmed to be uniquely identifiable. At present, the tags are thin and not more than 3"x4". There is research taking place where the tags can be printed onto the commodity. Hence, ripping the tag off does not figure in the discussion when that happens. These should quell both your concerns regarding the concept. Do you know when and how scholorship winners will be announced and when they will announce ideas that have been accepted for the contest?

None
NachoMahma

12 years ago

. Sounds like a great project to me. Not sure it would be "commercially viable," but it ought to make a great project.