New Moonwalkers designed to get workers around a warehouse faster
Shift Robotics aimed to get folks walking faster back in 2022, with a Kickstarter project for strap-on powered wheels called Moonwalkers. Now the Carnegie Mellon spinoff is launching a business-specific variant called the Moonwalkers X.
The new version has been designed specifically for indoor commercial use in distribution, logistics and warehouse settings, to benefit workers who might notch up 30,000 steps in a day. In fact, the current model has already been found to allow operatives to get around three times faster than by walking alone, while also potentially doubling productivity.
"I will not be surprised at all to see our business clients realize even greater results by deploying Moonwalkers X in their distribution centers, warehouses, logistics facilities, and retail locations," said Shift founder and CEO, Xunjie Zhang.
Though the design of the X flavor has been tweaked for "modularity and customization," the overall retro strap-on roller skates vibe remains. The new robo-shoes are lighter on the feet than the original Moonwalkers though – shedding a whole pound (0.45 kg) of heft for each shoe. A good proportion of that weight saving is doubtless due to the number of wheels going down from 10 to six.
Shift reports that the revised overall design will accommodate smaller shoe sizes, and the new wheels are softer for improved shock absorption. The Moonwalkers X are also said to be quicker, though actual figures have not been revealed as yet.
The AI-powered control system has been completely overhauled based on insights from existing Moonwalkers users – for improved safety and maneuverability. The company promises more responsive acceleration and braking, as well as "refined gait detection to eliminate abrupt stops."
"Our revamped drivetrain, the magnesium alloy based frame, and the new shock absorbing wheels all come together to offer the smoothest, most efficient warehouse navigation ever," said Zhang.
The company expects the Moonwalkers X to be available before July this year, and has set aside a limited quantity for early adopters to snap up. Businesses interested in learning more can visit the Shift booth at CES 2024.
Pricing information has not been revealed at this time, but Shift reckons that the new robo-shoes are more expensive to produce than the originals, which will no doubt be reflected in the price tag.
Product page: Moonwalkers X