by Canon Reeves
Why don’t we have robot maids like Rosie from the Jetsons yet? A quick search of Boston Dynamics’ robots shows incredibly agile robots that seem to be more than capable of doing the dishes. So what gives?
To put it simply, robots are really dumb, and every home is vastly different. To create a robot that can adapt easily to any customer’s home, while also being reasonably affordable, is just not technically feasible right now. I’d argue it’ll be 20+ years before we see robots like Atlas or Spot Mini in very many households.
However, in the next 10 years or so, it will be commonplace to see what is functionally an Amazon Alexa reincarnated as a robot in homes. The robots won’t be extremely complex hardware-wise, but I could see them fulfilling two or three chore-like tasks. They will likely require the end user to use household items that the robot’s manufacturer sells. For example, a robot might be able to wash your dishes, but you’d have to buy a whole new set of dishes that the robot is already familiar with. We’re a long way away from robots that “just work” in our homes.
We’ve seen a few companies crash and burn trying to pursue this vision so far. The issue is that most of the robots have been stationary and no more functional than an Echo Dot. The key is creating a robot that is three things: multifunctional, mobile, and adaptable. The Roomba is the most prominent consumer friendly robot so far that’s come close to achieving this. The only thing a Roomba lacks is multi-functionality.
No one can say for sure when we will see household robots like Rosie, but we can be pretty certain that it will happen eventually. Robots have grown more and more relevant to our everyday lives, and innovations are happening rapidly in the space. What we need now is time, and more tech talent to tackle the massive technical challenges. My company, MORE Technologies, is focused on the later. We make educational robots that are a third the cost of leading competitors, all while offering greater customization and deeper learning outcomes.
Images courtesy of Canon Reeves and Boston Dynamics