In the US animated series The Jetsons, a family of the future employed the services of Rosie, a humanoid robotic maid who whizzed around on wheels, tidying up around the house. She was less a housekeeper and more a part of the family.
While we haven’t yet achieved this level of robotic help, inventors have developed quite a few robot helpers which, like Rosie, not only assist with household chores, but in some cases serve as robotic companions.
Robots range from iRobot’s Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner, to Windoro, which cleans windows on two sides simultaneously and automatically, to the Toyota Human Support Robot, which can lend a helping hand -- literally -- by reaching for objects on high shelves.
Click on the photo below to see examples of available and conceptual household robots that can help ease the burden of work at home and can even provide companionship.
Colombian industrial design student Adrian Perez Zapata has designed Mab -- hundreds of small robots that fly around a house and clean soiled surfaces -- as a submission for the 2013 Electrolux Design Lab competition, the theme of which is “inspired urban living.” The system consists of a core central robotic hub and 908 microrobots that dispense cleaning solution. As envisioned by Zapata, Mab consists of a core mother ship robot that acts as the central controller for the system of 908 smaller bots sporting propellers that do the dirty work. Zapata’s design is one of 20 semifinalists in the competition, and his work is still just a concept. (Source: Electrolux Design Lab)
Nice slideshow, Elizabeth. The Rooba had a nice role in Breaking Bad. At one point the Roomba had sucked up some poisen. Thanks for including Rosie in the collection. She was the fiurst domestic robot.
Yes, I think I mention that scene in my caption of the Roomba photo, Rob. I loved "Breaking Bad," and the Roomba's appearance in it provided some dark humor and also showed how popular this robot is becoming in popular culture. And I couldn't do a slideshow like this without "Rosie." I loved "The Jetsons" as a kid.
Elizabeth, I'm glad you got Rosie in here. I'm a huge Breaking Bad fan as well. Since I live in Albuquerque, I recognize all of the location shots. Walter's house is about a mile from where I live. Saul's office is just a half a mile away.
I didn't realize you lived in Albuquerque, Rob. I identified alot with the show because I used to live in Phoenix, Arizona, so the whole southwest is familiar to me, as well as the unfortunate prevalence of crystal meth in the southwest. (There was always news of meth labs blowing up in the Phoenix area when I lived there.) That show must have really hit home with you, literally! Did you ever see them shooting? I'm such a fan geek, that would've been really cool. :)
I never actually saw them shooting Breaking Bad, Elizabeth, But one of my former Sunday School students was in Walt's class during the first two episodes. He was also in Jesse's crazy party scenes later in the show. The place where Jesse was supposed to be picked up to disappear -- and the place where Walt was picked up to disappear -- is right at the top of the park where I walk my dog every day.
That's so cool that you were close by to all of those locations for Breaking Bad, Rob. When I lived in NYC they were always shooting TV shows and movies, but people there are more used to it. When it's a more site-specific show like Breaking Bad, in which the city itself is almost a character in the show and isn't used to having this kind of attention, it would be definitely more exciting.
Yes, it has been fun Elizabeth. The show's creator, Vince Gilligan, has referred to Albuquerque as a character. Plus, most of the cast lived here during the six years of production. Aaron Paul was a fixture at one of our Indian res casinos. My son spent time with Walt Jr. at a downtown young people's bar.
I see NY in ads and shows all the time. It seems every five minutes I'm looking at the Flat Iron building.
Yes, NYC doesn't have the same sort of mystique as a place like Albuquerque because we see it so much. That show definitely put your city on the map. Do you notice more people coming to visit? They probably have a Breaking Bad site tour. I'm sure someone is cashing in on that!
Good guess, Elizabeth, there is a Breaking Bad site tour. It was good for the city. There was about $1 million in direct spend from each episode. I know some people who believe it was bad for the city since it portrayed ABQ has a meth center, which it isn't. We have meth in the rural areas hear, but not more than other states. It was filmed here because of our then governor Bill Rchardson's generous film support program. AMC asked Gilligan if he could set Breaking Bad in New Mexico to take advantage of the program, and Gilligan made the most of it.
We have a candy shop in our Old Town area that sells blue crystal candy
I visited one of the restaurants, Taco Sal. I asked the owner how he got compensated during shjooting. He said the production folks would pay him for using the restaurant all day. He said he made more money on shoot days than on regular days.
The car wash in the story is the place I've been taking my cars for about 20 years.
I think the Mab robots are smaller than they appear, Chuck. And actually, that design won the contest! So I'm not the only person who thinks it's cool. :) You can see more details about that on the Electrolux website: http://electroluxdesignlab.com/en/
I thought I had remembered Rosie pushing a Hoover; I was assuming that Hanna-Barbera didn't have the same vision as George Lucas, to incorporate a suction directly into the Host system like an R2D2 .... But a quick look at Google-Images proved me wrong! Even in 1962, they had the vision of full system integration!
We have a Roomba that sold as the pet owner's model. It requires what I consider a lot of maintenance. Before it is used the room has to be prepared. Anything on the floor except the furniture needs to be moved away. Between each use the brushes need to be combed, the debris bin emptied, and the filter cleaned. In addition, dog hair gets lodged everywhere and periodically all the nooks and crannies need cleaned. The motor and gearbox are not sealed and eventually dog hair and dirt cause the mechanism to freeze up. The gear box/motor assembly can be taken apart, cleaned, and reassembled if done very carefully. But this assembly, called the Cleaning Head, was not designed to be taken apart, it was designed to be removed and replaced for $50. Because of this, I consider the Roomba Robot as a geek's toy and not a serious home appliance. Most dog owners, including my wife, would be unable or disinclined to keep it operational for very long.
Thanks for that comment, Reliabilityguru. The Roombas seem so popular so it's interesting to hear a negative side to it. I don't have one personally, so I wouldn't know about how it actually works in a home at all. So you stopped using the device?
I continue to fuss with Roomba to keep it operational but it has been relegated to master bedroom duty. As you can imagine Roomba picks up loose dirt and debris lying on the floor surface and it is most effective on hard surface floors. It doesn't have powerful suction to effectively clean carpet. It does a good job cleaning under the bed on the hardwood floors.
That doesn't sound very encouraging, Reliabilityguru. That sounds like an execution problem rather than a concept problem. However, the pocket for collected debris would be small no matter how well executed the concept may be.
The spousal-unit and I really enjoyed our Roombas. They do have two, possibly three downsides.
1) Instead of doing something else, you find yourself watching the Roomba out of fascination.
2) You have to "Roomba proof" your rooms. All cords and curtain/shade strings have to be tucked out of the way so they don't get tangled in the sweeper.
3) I used to wonder why they did not turn off automatically and would instead stop and beep...until the Roomba scooted under the bed and had its way with the floor underneath. Then the light popped on that it may decide it is done under there and you wouldn't know where to look for it.
Unlike the shark costume wearing cat riding the Roomba, our cats were very wary of them. It was absolutely hysterical when one of the cats was peeking around a bookcase watching the Roomba, when the Roomba in one of its random walks turned and then seemed to deliberately head directly at the cat. ZOOM!! Off ran the cat.
"Automated" pool vacs have been around for quite a while. Working under water is no big problem in that application. Materials have to be tolerant of water and pool treatment chemicalss. The motive and vacuum power is supplied by the pool filter circulation pump. No water-proofing or pressure vessel issues like one might have in a true submarine robot. And there's not a lot of "smarts" to most of the pool vacs. They wander semi-randomly along the bottom and part way up the wall of the pool. Let them wander long enough and they usually cover the whole bottom. Not exactly self-directed intelligence. But then, they do work. Or at least mine did back when I had a house with a pool.
You didn't do your homework. Robotic pool cleaners are electrically powered and include micro-processor control - the latest ones have 32 bit ARM processors inside, and there is a second processor in the power supply. "Wander semi randomly" doesn't do justice to the many hours of programming and testing that goes into making them work. The pressure or suction side pool cleaners you talk about are to a robotic pool cleaner what a broom is to a Roomba.
Yes, rickgtoc, I am familiar with these pool vacs. I seem to have omitted them from the slideshow--my bad! My sister and her family have one and they do seem to work quite well and efficiently without much hassle.
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