That the robots are coming to take over repetitive human jobs in the future is common news. But, the future might be closer than you think.
Bots have already started coming to banks, supermarkets, hotels and other places near you. Now, you can have your home painted by a robot named Walt. Developed by a team of makers from Hyderabad, Walt can do an interior wall painting job up to 30 times faster and more efficiently than humans, or it can assist human painters.
“Walt can do around 60-70% of the repetitive work involved in a paint job all by itself,” says Srikar Reddy, CEO and co-founder of Endless Robotics. They designed Walt to simplify and speed up the mundane and repetitive process of painting.
How Walt works
Walt’s base is fitted with wheels that control how it moves. It’s upper part consists of a pulley-and-belt system fitted with a spray gun for painting. The height of the painting segment can changed depending on the height of the wall to be painted. Right now, Walt can paint walls up to 14 feet high.
“A human painter can paint approximately 1,000 square feet in a day using a brush. Even though Walt can paint up to 30 times faster compared to humans, in real-world scenarios, it can complete around 15,000 to 18,000 square feet in a day, depending on the complexity of the interiors,” says Puneeth Bandikatla, CTO and co-founder of Endless Robotics.
According to the team, Walt is currently is equipped to do only spray painting, but it can also be modified to support other systems like jet rollers. Walt is currently powered from a wall socket and the team is developing a battery powered base which should make it more mobile. It’s modular construction enables it to be easily assembled and knocked down to transport it around.
Where humans come in
Walt is currently being offered to the real estate sector and to corporate clients by Endless Robotics through an end-to-end service called Strox.
Once Strox closes a contract, it sends a team to survey and map the interiors of the house or the apartment to be painted. On the day of the paint job, all the operator has to do is place Walt at the correct start position in front of the wall and feed the wall data into it via a mobile app developed by the company to start the job.
“While assisting humans in painting, Walt can enable a three-member team to accomplish 10 times the work they would have otherwise done in a day,” says Reddy.
The company currently has a host of real estate companies as clients and some orders from other parties are in the pipeline.
Walt has so far painted over 1,20,000 sq ft of wall area. For the past two weeks, the bot has been painting a new academic block at NIT-Warangal, which covers over 4,50,000 sq ft of wall area. “We have commenced the work at NIT-Warangal. If the site conditions are optimal, we should complete the paint job in 60 to 75 days,” says Reddy.
Reddy says that the company is on the verge of closing another 6,00,000 sq ft contract with a real estate company from Hyderabad.
Endless Robotics was founded in 2015 by Srikar Reddy, Puneeth Bandikatla, Nitesh Boyina, and Akhil Varma and had raised $100,000 in funding from a group of angel investors.
In future, Endless Robotics also plans to develop other robots with the same base as Walt, but for performing tasks other than painting.