Robots are in Salt Lake City. And no, they’re not taking your job

This story is a part of The Salt Lake Tribune’s ongoing dedication to determine options to Utah’s greatest challenges by way of the work of the Innovation Lab.

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With a digital actuality headset strapped to her head and controllers clasped to her arms, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall directed a robotic to wave on the crowd looking at her. Every motion Mendenhall made, the robotic exactly replicated. When she shifted her eyes, so did the robotic. When she prolonged her arm, a robotic arm mimicked.

Mendenhall was experiencing the most recent synthetic intelligence creation by Sarcos Technology and Robotics Corporation, a Utah-born tech firm situated in Salt Lake City’s Granary District.

Before working the Guardian XT teleoperated dexterous robotic on Wednesday, Mendenhall applauded the corporate for influencing the blueprint of “Tech Lake City” by serving to carve the world into an “innovation district.”

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City mayor Erin Mendenhall exams a robotic operator utilizing a headset and movement controllers at Sarcos headquarters in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

The Granary District is traditionally identified for being the commercial coronary heart of town. That’s altering as extra tech firms arrange store within the neighborhood. However, Mendenhall predicted the rising nature of tech within the metropolis would bolster profession alternatives for Salt Lakers.

“We care deeply about connecting those high paying, highly mobile jobs to our community members,” she stated, “who have been too disconnected from this growing economy.”

And the Guardian XT pays homage to the roots of the district. Instead of constructing a robotic to ship meals or sniff out safety threats on the airport, Guardian XT is extending a mechanical hand to the trades.

Some occupations like building, powerline upkeep and forklift operation, require people to danger their life to finish the job. But Kiva Allgood, the CEO of Sarcos, says the principle function of their know-how is to “prevent injury and save lives” by decreasing office accidents.

Robotic security

The first step to decreasing office accidents is minimizing the sticky conditions staff are positioned in that would outcome within the lack of life. In 2020, 5.3% of all electrical incidents had been deadly, based on The Electrical Safety Foundation International. Of these deaths, 33% had been between the ages of 25 and 34.

However, the Guardian XT has the power to chop by way of a stay wire with out electrocuting somebody, for instance.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Operator Tara Scranton makes use of a robotic to remotely reduce a wire at Sarcos headquarters in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

With its two claw arms, the robotic can take away a employee from scaling a excessive rise to be able to paint the siding. It may also function energy instruments in varied conditions. The Guardian XT, which Allgood says is feminine however they haven’t selected a reputation fairly but, additionally has the power to raise heavy supplies as much as 200 kilos.

Not solely is the robotic capable of full important duties in harmful environments, Allgood famous it may assist scale back put on and tear commerce jobs positioned on the human physique.

“If you’re constantly riveting or you’re doing a job that causes a lot of vibration,” she stated, “that causes a lot of damage.”

But with the assistance of a talented employee, the Guardian XT can carry out these tedious duties and save the physique from breaking down.

“There are some jobs we put humans in that we just shouldn’t place humans in, but we don’t have a choice,” Allgood stated, “and now we do.”

Changing workforce

One worry of automation innovation is the likelihood it may scale back job alternatives. In Sarcos’ case, Guardian XT is supposed to work with people in numerous commerce professions—not change them. The robotic have to be operated by an individual.

“We’re augmenting the workforce by not replacing the workforce,” Allgood stated. “We’re reducing the amount of stress, we’re reducing the amount of harm they place themselves in.”

Through human distant management, Guardian XT can carry out harmful duties in hazardous environments. Operators use their pure actions, instincts and judgment to regulate the robotic in dangerous human conditions.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) The cameras of a robotic operator at Sarcos headquarters in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

“Users control the robot by utilizing their natural reflexes, instincts, and judgment to perform complex tasks in unstructured, often hazardous environments, all while keeping the operator out of harm’s way,” the Sarcos web site reads.

The ongoing labor scarcity is simply predicted to worsen, particularly in expert trades like building and manufacturing. In truth, inside the subsequent decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects there to be 54.8 million expert labor job openings as the present workforce begins to retire.

But Allgood believes the robotic addition to the trade is definitely enhancing the commerce occupation. The know-how additionally opens the door for individuals with bodily disabilities to work within the commerce trade since staff don’t need to scale buildings themselves.

“To be honest with you, a lot of folks, especially the next generation, the thought of being a robot operator is a lot sexier,” Allgood stated with a chuckle.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) Sarcos Robotics CEO Kiva Allgood speaks with Salt Lake City mayor Erin Mendenhall at an occasion at Sarcos headquarters in Salt Lake City, Wednesday, April 13, 2022.

And if turning into a robotic operator looks as if a dream job, Allgood says the corporate is hiring. Sarcos hopes the Guardian XT might be prepared for buy in 2023.

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