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)
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.
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?
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.
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!
"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.
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.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
A recent example of a major CAE revamp is MSC Apex, released last month by MSC Software Corp. In a discussion with Design News, MSC executives noted that its next-generation platform is designed to substantially reduce CAE modeling and process time, “in some cases from weeks down to hours.”
The Thames Deckway would run for eight miles close to the river’s edge, rising and falling slightly with the tidal cycle. It will generate its own energy from a series of devices that will line the pathway and use a combination of sources to make the path self-sustaining.
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