socastcmsRssStartBy Greg Bishop | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
State lawmakers and visitors to the capitol this week witnessed a robot prototype that seemingly came straight out of a "Star Wars" movie.
Is this the droid you’ve been looking for?
While walking around at the capitol in Springfield this week, Daniel Goff was being followed by a two-wheeled robot that got a lot of attention. Called Gita, the robot was built by Piaggio Fast Forward.
“It’s a semi-autonomous device that follows behind you and carries up to 50 pounds,” Goff said. “It can go to the grocery store, get around for the day without needing to bring your car or drive places.”
Goff said there’s a typical reaction he gets when people see the robot following him around.
“‘Oh my god what is that, it’s so cool,’ ” Goff said.
Goff, of Chicago, said the robot has a myriad of uses.
“Elderly people who want to be able to walk to the grocery store … and live on their own but need a little extra help,” Goff said. “It will follow a wheelchair so it’s great for people with disabilities. Retailers love it because anything that makes shopping a little more fun in person and makes you want to go to the store instead of shopping online is great for them.”
The visit to Springfield gave Goff a chance to show lawmakers how the robot could be used.
“We’re looking to introduce it to policymakers, get people to thinking about what these kinds of devices can be used for and just sort of build buzz,” Goff said.
While the robot isn’t available sale yet, it will be sometime early next year, Goff said. How much it will cost has yet to be finalized.
“The idea is the price of a nice handbag,” Goff said. “So if you’re choosing between a Louis Vuitton and this, maybe you’ll choose this.”
A Louis Vuitton handbag can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.