Bangkok University Robotics Laboratory (BURL), Bangkok University
Thailand’s oldest and largest private university, Bangkok University, was established back in 1962, and is located in the central business district of the city. In order to accommodate the increasing number of students who wants to study at BU, the university decided to expand its operation to the Rangsit campus in the province of Pathumthani.
Aside from its International undergraduate programs, the school has several domestic programs solely to cater students in the country under its name namely the Undergraduate courses like School of Accounting, School of Business Administration, School of Communication Arts, School of Economics, School of Humanities, School of Law, School of Science and Technology, School of Engineering, the School of Architecture, and the School of Fine Arts and Applied Arts.
Not to be outmoded in today’s fast-paced and advanced technologies, the university has set up the Bangkok University Robotics Laboratory (BURL) in order to address the need for state-of-the-art machines and robots. The BURL is the country’s leading developer of robotic waiters that can not only take orders but can deliver them as well.
One of these robots is the MK service Robot, called the Din Sow robot. The robotic waiter was Thailand’s biggest restaurant chain’s project, the MK Restaurant, and is no stranger to advanced technological ideas. The chain was among the first in the country to install GPS into their outlets and have used PDA to take orders.
With the help of CTAsia Robotics, researchers at BURL hope that this robot will eventually find its way to all MK Restaurant outlets and pave the way for robotic waiters that will not only take orders and serve you, but will also entertain customers with their LCD faces. At $30,000 or 1 million baht, CTAsia Robotics is planning to create 10 of these waiter robots to begin with.
Students at the University are also developing Yumbo, which is designed to not only entertain customers but can also carry trays. They are also trying to innovate the robot using a touch screen interface, but this robot cannot carry anything. Just like the Din Sow robotic waiter, these robots are able to navigate using its wheels and follow lines located on the floor.
The university aims to make this project successful, and with the support of local businesses, inexpensive robots will soon find its way inside a lot of Thai restaurants.