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Where the hell is my family’s robot?

4 years ago

2 parents have answered

Holly Seddon admin
Holly Seddon Editor-in-chief of Kent, UK

Although a future full of domestic robot staff hasn’t quite come to fruition, if you have the cash, the robot friend you dreamed of in childhood may yet be a possibility.

It feels like we’ve been a bit jipped on the stuff we were promised from ‘the future’. Hoverboards (okay, they actually are coming), delicious meals in pill form and a robot to help around the house. And sure, I know there is the robot vacuum cleaner but the uses are very one-dimensional i.e. vacuuming.

What I’m talking about is the full-blown Rosie the Robot Maid from The Jetsons: a housekeeping, butling, domestic servant and on-tap babysitter. Without the I, Robot ethical upsets and with the standard robot ‘kill all humans’ command firmly disabled.

The future we’re sitting in right now is looking pretty similar to the environment we sat in to watch The Jetsons many moons ago. There is new communication tech, and everything is either flatter, fatter or faster, but it’s hardly living in a bubble and wearing silver jump suits.

Robot helpers remain a long way off for the average family. However, if you have the spondoolies, there are some options. One $3,000 option is Luna, a personal robot soon to be made available on limited release in the US. Described by as: ‘…a device that can’t do much more than try not to bump into furniture and senior citizens as it desultorily wheels itself around your home, toting a tray of drinks you’ve carefully placed on its precarious, pipe-like “arms.”’ Ouch.

No, the best of breed is coming up in PR2. A $400,000 hunk of robotic awesomeness that acts as a ‘platform’ upon which apps can be built.

It’s in these theoretical apps that the beauty lies. Apps that will, in the words of the parent company Willow Garage, take over tedious work tasks, personal jobs like dishes and laundry and even provide valuable services to help people live independently where they previously would need an assisted residential facility. Which is, when we (I) all calm down with the robot butler fantasies, actually a genuinely wonderful application for future tech.

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Fact 4 years ago
Stuart Carter
Stuart Carter Tech-loving London dad Bexley, GB

Have you seen Robot & Frank? Not only a wonderful film, but also one of the best depictions of robot butlers I've ever seen!

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Opinion 4 years ago

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