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Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Near-Term Future of Robots at Home

Have followed the progress of home robotics here for some time. Especially the work by IRobot with their Roomba sweeper and Scooba floor cleaner which were sold for a while at Costco. They have seen some tough times, losing big in the third quarter, but now plan some new ideas. The article linked to below provides some useful hints into their plans. This BW slideshow includes reviews of a number of current robot offerings, for fun and household tasks. Though clever, most of these ideas have only implied autonomy, and still have a way to go.
iRobot: Ready to Clean Up
" ... The Roomba maker says it's readying more robots to do the dirty work of cleaning and the fun work of keeping people connected " We're trying to focus on the chief household officer vs. early adopters, or people who are fascinated by robot technology. We're positioning Roomba as a durable appliance that will give you freedom to do more of what you want to do during the day. As you look at your life inventory, and the amount of time you spend doing things you enjoy vs. those you dislike, we're asking, "How can we show you that robots can give you more freedom in your life?" That messaging, and delivering the goods in the product, is important--that robots aren't things of the future, but very practical today ... "

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