Real Estate Robot, AI Dragon Meet Advertising Week

Various forms of robots are popping up everywhere and Advertising Week is no exception.

Robots of two different flavors were displayed on two floors of the Innovation Gallery showcase in New York on Monday.

One upstairs featured a robotic dragon that responds to colors and interacts with people, and one downstairs that roams inside buildings creating floor plans and taking high-quality, 360-degree videos.

The dragon was created for Advertising Week to showcase how AI can be used for interactions, said Diego Balarezo from Robots Crate, the company founded in Ecuador, which is in the process of moving to San Francisco.

The company specializes in using AI for interactive kiosks and point-of-sale systems.

Balarezo showed me an example of a kiosk where one of their robotic creations makes ice cream in real time based on input from children at an ice cream stand.

A robot featured downstairs was more focused on reaching businesses, most notably those dealing in real estate.

The company creates and produces 360-degree videos primarily for real estate companies, including Cushman & Wakefield and Stribling.

Bryan Colin, CEO and co-founder of Virtual Apt, the two-year-old Brooklyn-based startup, showed me one of the robots his company created.

The robot moves on wheels, sports a set of cameras on its top and is filled with computing power.

Virtual Apt typically meets a realtor at a property for sale and sets up the robot to roam the house, taking videos and measuring floor space.

The end result is a virtual walkthrough of the property, with a voice-over supplied by the realty firm.

“We’re not going to tell you how to sell a house,” says Colin. The real estate firm brings the robot to a location and runs it, but the realtor defines what they want shown and highlighted.

Virtual Apt also creates augmented reality for agencies, especially when an agency is pitching a client and needs such a production, Colin said.

The real estate tours, generally costing about $1 a square foot, are targeted for web viewing rather than via VR headset, and there are buttons for viewers to quickly jump to different parts of a house.

The robot is light enough to be carried to a second floor, said Matthew Moorhead, a mechanical engineer at the company.

The robot uses LIDAR (light detection and ranging), so it can recall precise locations after it has been there once.

New robotic creations are most commonly shown at CES in Las Vegas each January.

Now, it looks like some of them can’t wait.

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