Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe
marypcb

Domestic robots: it's a dirty job and I don't want to have to do it

If I can clean spam out of my inbox automatically, why do I have to push a vacuum cleaner around by hand? If I can have a robot do the work of cleaning and scrubbing the floors, emptying the cat litter, clearing the cutters, cutting the grass, washing the windows, scooping the leaves out of the pool and grabbing the garbage, why would I ever do it by hand? To find out exactly how good the robots have become, I set up robot vacuums, floor mops and cat litter scoopers and left them to it. I also look at the range of other domestic robots on the market from the practical to the peculiar, and explain why the Japanese are so keen on humanoid robots.

Most of us are no Mike Rowe. If there's a dirty job, we'd prefer if someone else took care of it. So instead of paying for a landscaper or a maid, how about buying a robot? Cleaning the floor, dealing with the trash, scooping the cat litter. Can you turn over the nasty jobs to a machine now?

We’ve been waiting for a robot butler since Rosey appeared in The Jetsons, and while that’s still very much science fiction, there’s plenty of research into general purpose humanoid robots, some of which look disturbingly human. What you can buy today are robotic devices for the home that do one or two specific things, automatically or with minimal human interaction. Robot vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers, robot mops and cat litter robots. Are they really robots – and are they any good?
Read the rest at Tom's Guide


EDIT
And in all of this I should add that it's Simon who does the majority of the cleaning. The one thing he would most like a home robot to do is folding the laundry, which is what iRobot CEO Colin Angle most wants as well. There is a verrrry slow towel folding prototype in the piece...
Tags: articles, review, robot, technology, tom's guide, writing
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