Sunday, April 26, 2015

The road to domestic automation

Our vision of the domestic robot of the future is Rosie from the Jetsons or Robin Williams portrait of a home robot in Bicentennial Man. The reality right now is iRobot's Roomba , and many robots with little immediate potential for everyday people.

Some believe the ultimate solution is the "Internet of things" which is cool, and this model probably has a good shot at becoming ubiquitous.  I don't know however if people want to or will care to have 'Intelligence' built into everything.  It just doesn't seem necessary. 

The military has embraced 'Drones' or semi autonomous robotics.   These drones are land and air based and have many things in common.  While there are some non-military drones those too are far removed from the everyday life of  most people.

My bet is that drones will be available that can carry out many different jobs around the home.
Imagine having someone from anywhere in the world driving a robot in your kitchen, helping it when it gets stuck or teaching it a new task. These tasks and the information they learn would become part of the collective information about objects, and activities.  This task of programming, training and guidance needs just a few steps of hardware capability to become reality.

This vision is an extension of Baxter from and other teachable robotics. The second and most challenging issue is mobility.  Current user friendly general purpose robots aren't about to have the mobility necessary to mow  your lawn, climb stairs, get in and out of a vehicle and scrub your bathtub, but they are on their way. 

By 2020 there will be robots  that combined with human drivers will do many tasks around wealthy homes.  They will be the precursor to wide spread domestic automation.