What are Domestic Robots?
Domestic robots are electronic robotic devices that are designed to manage various types of tasks around the house. While some of these devices focus on functions such as house cleaning, others are designed to provide company for the elderly, monitor the activities of young children, and operate kitchen appliances. While the number and type of robots that are in actual use today are somewhat small, designs for robots with a broader range of capabilities are currently under development by a number of different companies.
Of all the domestic robots currently in use today, the most common is the smart vacuum. This type of household robot is capable of maneuvering around the floor of a room, cleaning carpeting as well as hardwood and other types of floors. The robot uses sensors to identify the presence of furniture and other objects, and change direction when and as needed. Small and relatively simplistic, the robot takes up a fraction of the storage space required for a traditional vacuum cleaner. Robots like these normally operate with the use of a battery pack that can easily be recharged using household current.
There are also domestic robots that are used as part of home security networks. Devices of this type are usually connected to computer systems within the home, using a wired or wireless connection. The robots are programmed to initiate a sequence of tasks in the event of movement outside windows or exterior doors, up to and including locking connecting doors between the room that has been breached and the remainder of the home. The robot can also trigger the security system to automatically contact law enforcement to report the break-in.
Entertainment robots are another example of robots that are already in common usage. Robots of this type are designed to provide interactive entertainment and companionship for shut-ins, the elderly, or anyone who lives alone. The robots can be programmed for tasks such as playing verbal word games, receive voice commands to conduct web searches, and other simple activities that help to pass the time.
Other models for domestic robots are currently under development. These include robots that can be programmed to prepare simple meals, take out the trash, dust, make the bed, and handle a number of relatively uncomplicated household duties. There are also companies researching the potential for developing robots that can function as health attendants, providing limited health care to patients who are recovering from surgery or illness. While many of the more elaborate ideas for domestic robots remain the province of science fiction, advances in technology are slowly making it possible to convert some of these fictional illustrations of servant robots into reality.
To heck with the vacuuming robot -- I just want the one that cooks, cleans, makes up beds, takes out the trash and other chores that we humans tend to hate. The next question is when will we actually start seeing some of those things? Robotics has been a developing field for decades, but progress in artificial intelligence has moved somewhat slowly. Perhaps that's because we are talking about a very complex field. Of course, we may just be impatient.
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