The global coronavirus pandemic has definitely put a spoke in the wheel for lottery winners claiming their ceremonial winning cheques due to social distancing rules. However, in Quebec, the Canadian lottery has come up with a rather unique way around this issue.
For the first time in Quebec's lottery history, a lottery who won $6 million was handed her ceremonial winners cheque from a life-sized robot!
According to lottery officials, the robot was built by college students.
Guylaine Desjardins, a resident of Laurentides, was the first recipient to receive a winning lottery cheque. According to lottery officials, she said that she had been playing the same numbers for just over 25 years until she won the jackpot in the July 1 draw.
Guylaine said she bought her lottery ticket at her workplace using the numbers 1, 12, 27, 30, 34, 49 and bonus number 35.
Like most lottery players who buy lottery tickets from corner shops, she only discovered her win nearly a week later.
Lottery winners protected with cutting-edge technology
Lottery winners coming forward to claim their life-changing wins will be protected with cutting-edge technology while they are collecting their prize.
Loto-Québec is the first to introduce its human-sized robot congratulating winners and handing them their checks worth millions.
According to Loto-Québec, lottery prize collections had become a lot more complicated during this Coronavirus pandemic due to the unprecedented situation. While smaller lottery wins could be cashed out easily, lottery winners who won large cash prizes had to wait until they receive the green light for their prize collection in person.
Loto-Québec decided to pioneer a completely different approach.
As health officials set in place social distancing to curb the spread of the virus, Guylaine Desjardins like so many other big lottery winners during the past couple of months, wasn't able to receive her prize money like the winners before her.
Therefore, lottery officials got creative in finding a safe way to present the winner with her winnings.
In an effort to adhere to public social distancing guidelines, the ceremony held on July 23 was streamed live on Facebook and those in attendance wore masks and maintained a physical distance. Except for one who would hand over the ceremonial lottery winner’s cheque to her. It was a robot named SARA.
SARA, is an automated robotic assistance system that was built and designed in partnership by students at the University of Quebec's school of engineering.
Students from the engineering school's Walking Machine club controlled the robot at the prize payout ceremony.
The Walking Machine club posted the lottery winner receiving her prize on Facebook and said, "A great experience and a well-deserved outing for our robot who was alone since the beginning of the quarantine!"
The lucky recipient to be the first person to receive her lottery ceremonial cheque from a robot said that she plans to use her newfound riches to buy herself a three-wheel motorcycle, spoil her two sons and travel once pandemic safety guidelines are lifted.
How robots are helping out other industries
Due to the highly infectious nature of the coronavirus, robots are providing much needed contact-free alternatives. These range from decontaminating hospitals and public spaces to delivery services. Robots are a game-changer in pandemics such as the one the world is experiencing right now.
Various robots used in hospitals
The Cylindrical robot allows health care workers to remotely take temperatures and measure blood pressure and oxygen saturation from patients hooked up to a ventilator. Another robot that looks like a pair of large fluorescent lights rotated vertically travels throughout a hospital disinfecting with ultraviolet light. Meanwhile, a cart-like robot brings food to people quarantined in a 16-story hotel. Outside, quadcopter drones ferry test samples to laboratories and watch for violations of stay-at-home restrictions.
For those who saw the various images on social media a few months back about a brand new hospital in China being built, robots were able to work through the night because drones carried lighting.
Public safety departments are also using robots to spray disinfectant throughout public spaces. Drones are also utilised to provide thermal imagery to help identify infected citizens and enforce quarantines and social distancing restrictions. When it comes to broadcasting public service messages, drones are being used to relay these messages.
Realtors are also jumping aboard and using robots to teleoperate robots to show properties from the safety of their own homes.
One important lesson is that during a disaster robots do not replace people. They either perform tasks that a person could not do or do safely or take on tasks that free up responders to handle the increased workload.
Robots for lottery winners
For anyone thinking of buying their own robot, here are a few robots you could probably buy after winning any of this week’s incredible jackpots:
Samsung released three Bot Retail, Bot Care and Bot Air. Bot retail is the biggest of the three with a large front display and basic shelving system at the back allowing it to deliver food or other items.
Unique Features: Samsung Bot Retail has the ability to interact with people, make payments using NFC technology and recognise objects using the front-facing camera. Therefore, this robot looks like strong competition for SoftBank Robotics’ Pepper and may be seen climbing the rankings very soon.
Valkyrie was developed in collaboration with NASA and the University of Edinburgh. Just one look at this robot and you can already see why it’s one of the most advanced humanoid robots in the world. Valkyrie has been designed with the ability to one day assist the setup of habitats on mars prior to human arrival.
Ultimately robots serve as a testament to human achievement and they provide opportunities for improvement ranging from benefits to local communities to exploration of the great unknown. Nevertheless, we're excited to see what will be achieved next in this unique and exciting industry.