There was a Maker Faire the last weekend at Tampines Hub, and it came as a good opportunity for me to drop by and explore this new landmark in the east. It is an impressive building. Most visitors coming in from the bus interchange or Tampines MRT will be entering the Hub through the traffic light junction in between OCBC and Telepark (as shown in the map below – map extracted from Street Directory.com)
The Tampines Hub have a few facilities integrated together such as the Community Centre, Hawker Centre, Tampines Football Stall, Tampines Regional Library. The Tampines Regional Library span from Level 2 to Level 6. The design of the library is amazing. There are different themes at different floors and at different section.
From the main foyer of the Tampines Hub, I make my way up the escalator to the library, as can be seen in the image below.
The first sight that greeted me is the Mobile Bookdrop which is located at the Tampines Hub Entrance.
This robot looks familiar. If you are able to notice the brand of the mobile robot at the bottom, it goes by the name Thouzer. It is a mobile robot brand by the Japanese company Doog Inc.
A lot of information are provided in the main Japanese page. This mobile robot can lift weights of up to 120kg, and according to NLB, it can pack up to 150 books. It can travel up to 20km until the next charge, with speed of up to 7.5km/hr. There are two main mobility features to the Thouzer:
– Follow a path designated by reflective tape
– Follow a person
It has sensors around Thouzer which allow it to avoid people and obstacles. And its follow-me capability is impressive. It will scan your feet and follow you around. There is a very good demonstration of the Thouzer in Republic Polytechnic. They are the first to bring in this mobile robot and assisted NLB in the deployment of the Thouzer with the system integrator – NEC. NEC is the system integrator for the borrowing system in NLB.
A detail video has been created by NLB explaining on how the Mobile Bookdrop works.
The next question that will naturally come to mind is why use a Mobile Bookdrop. The parking location of the Mobile Bookdrop actually occupy quite a substantial prime space along the walkway. At all the other NLB locations, the bookdrop are located at the book sorting area.
Let’s find out where is the book sorting area. I walked to the end of the library (refer to the map which I placed at the start of the post – it’s at the bottom right corner of Tampines Hub). And there is the integrated bookdrop station with the book sorting area.
This is actually Tampines Regional Library Main Entrance. I noticed the escalators to the different floors in the library are also located at this side of the library. But this side of the entrance is really quiet. Most people visit the library from the Tampines Hub Main Foyer.
The only way to have no infrastructure changes is to utilize the Mobile Bookdrop. In this way, library users can easily return the books via the Tampines Hub entrance. And the library staff will still be able to collect the books at the book sorting area.