With Christmas coming up, who couldn’t do with a helping hand around the house? The household robot remains a relatively under-developed area, but the signs are that 2020 will bring about significant developments and breakthroughs.
Why hasn’t this breakthrough happened already?
2 main reasons can be identified – one is technological, the other behavioural. The technology is rapidly catching up with the type of applications required in household environments, where close human contact is involved, and soft touch dexterity is required. The behavioural change may take longer, where humans want and expect robots to be involved in their homes. We aren’t there yet, but the expectation is that we will be soon. In part this is due to identifying the need and supplying solutions to meet the demand – robotic vacuum cleaners work because they fulfill a clearly defined need.
What are the tasks that would be most popular to be automated?
Research has shown that ‘dull’ tasks are the least liked household chores – indicating that robotic solutions to these would be most popular. The top 5 most disliked tasks are:
- Washing the car
- Raking leaves from the lawn and paths
- Folding and putting away clean laundry
- Mowing the lawn
- Loading and unloading the washing machine
Equally illuminating is the list of tasks that humans would be least likely to want a robot to undertake:
- Changing a baby’s nappy
- Making dinner
- Walking the dog – and picking up the poo
- Driving the children to school or other activities
- Cleaning the bathroom
Artificial intelligence in the kitchen
“We are predicting the kitchen to be the location for the most exciting robotic developments in the household over the next 12 months”, says Liz Reid, MD of RNR Robot Solutions. “Undertaking tasks to simplify the lives of busy people is what robots are ideally suited for.” Once the technology can demonstrate the ability to cope in an unstructured environment like a family kitchen, we can see huge potential for life-changing robotic applications in the household. It may be some time, however, before the type of rapid burger cooking done by Flippy will be common-place in kitchens up and down the country….