When Will We Have Robots To Help With Household Chores?
HRP-2 robots learn kitchen chores at the University of Tokyo's JSK Lab.
Google has recently been in the news for its buying spree of robotics companies
. Many people are excited about this and believe that this will greatly accelerate robotics technology development and hopefully make robots ubiquitous in our lives. I hope that's true, and if so, the big question is: When will we be able to buy robots to help us with household chores? Home robots might save many marriages by reducing fights over household chores. I am sure that divorce lawyers will hate home robots! Teens will have love-hate relationship with robots. Because robots are doing most of the work at home, parents won’t need to nag teens to help out around the house. But at the same time teens won’t get money from their parents for doing chores, as is common today in many U.S. families. Cash-deprived teens will need to cut down on money they spend on music and movies. This might be bad for certain pop stars (watch out Justin Bieber, home robots won't be good for your album sales). Home robots will dethrone pet animals from being the stars of viral YouTube videos. They might even spawn new reality shows on TV to depict new relationship dynamics at homes as robots join the family. Call centers with human workers will be needed to bail out robots in distress. Hopefully, this will create new jobs for humans. Perhaps auto clubs likeAAA can start new robot clubs to assist robot owners. People won’t have any sense of privacy inside their homes. Robots will be able to monitor your every move, so be careful of what you do at home. I am sure NSA folks will be very happy with the advent of home robots. They will finally have the ability to know what time you take showers. They already know everything else! Occasionally, home robots will be involved in accidents. I can already see insurance companies salivating at this new opportunity. Hopefully, your robot can answer the phone when telemarketers from insurance company call you to sell new robot insurance policies.
Here is a partial list of chores performed inside homes that can benefit from robot assistants:
- Help with laundry
- Load and unload dishwashers
- Do preparatory work for cooking meals (e.g., chopping vegetables)
- Clean kitchen
- Clean toilets and bathtubs
- Pick up objects (e.g., toys, newspaper, clothes, sneakers) from the floor and move them to the right location
- Unload groceries from the car parked in garage
- Assemble furniture
- Help with moving heavy objects
- Answer phone when telemarketers call at dinner time
ARMAR, created at the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology,
learns not just from previously stored instructions but also from reaching out and touching things. Photo: KIT