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The State of Household Robots

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the series-12-nannybot dept.

Japan 102

paulelaguna writes "The dream of owning a household robot is starting to become reality, particularly for people in Japan. There are robots to help you do the dishes, move furniture, and even robotic wheelchairs to help you get around. Really, the only question that remains for us is when do we move?"

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Not new. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33486982)

There are robots to help you do the dishes

We have those here too. They're called 'dishwashers'.

Re:Not new. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33486998)

they were. now they will be called "unionized sanitation specialists"..Thanks AZ

Re:Not new. (5, Funny)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487004)

"unionized sanitation specialists"

Don't talk about my wife like that.

Re:Not new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33487048)

We all should be scared if wives unionize. Perhaps you Americans are right with all that union hate. In Europe, we never saw it coming.

Re:Not new. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33487072)

they already did.. it's called feminism.

Re:Not new. (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487336)

That's what SHE said.

Re:Not new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33495488)

-1 Not Funny. :|

Re:Not new. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489910)

Q: How do you turn a dishwasher into a snowblower?

A: Hand your wife a shovel.

Re:Not new. (2, Funny)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 3 years ago | (#33490380)

My wife was less "unionized sanitation specialist" and more "unionized sanitation consultant." She pretty much got paid to tell me what to do and how to do it.

Re:Not new. (2, Funny)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487330)

In some parts of the world they are called "Wife".

My first post robot (5, Funny)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487006)

appears to be malfunctioning...

Re:My first post robot (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487012)

Working as intended. It's a feature.

Furtiture moving things (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33487008)

Autonomous Wheels.... Also I love the way they have a big red and yellow STOP YOU'RE SQUISHING GRANNY button. next up tentacle rape robots...

I have a household robot (2, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487042)

I guess "Roomba" is no longer exciting though, right?

Re:I have a household robot (2, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487154)

They will be more exciting when iRobot starts making them more reliable and sell them at a reasonable price again. The low end one used to be around $100 (I owned several) and it worked just as well as the more expensive ones, without some useless features like self-charging, and it came with replacement filters and two virtual walls. These days the cheapest one is $200 (basically the same robot as the one that used to be $100) plus you get zero filters and zero virtual walls. On top of that those are hard to find in stores and they try really hard to sell you the $300+ ones (500 series) which don't really clean any better either and are even less reliable. Where is the Japanese competition when you need it...

Re:I have a household robot (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487172)

IIRC the 5 series are a newer generation. I couldn't tell you if they clean better than the older ones as I never had an older one. I payed 400 (AUD) for mine and am quite happy with it.

But then I suppose we're still in the "entertaining novelty" phase. It did come with a wall and a filter.

Re:I have a household robot (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487404)

I'm a bit shocked they worked well at all? I saw one in a shop ages ago and it just didn't look powerful enough to pick up much.
Do you use it on carpet or wood floors? How does it deal with going around dining table and chairs? Does it miss the edges of the room out? Thanks. I may get one.

Re:I have a household robot (2, Informative)

takev (214836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487496)

I have one (a 500) it works very well. It may not be as powerful as a normal vacuum cleaner, but it makes up for it by vacuuming longer and more often (you can run it daily). In fact it cleans better than I do myself, it also can go easily underneath the couch and bed.

It runs at my home on carpet and wood floor, and I know someone who has the scooba which cleans a wood floor using a water based solution as well. You do need to be sure there are no cable on the floor that it can suck up and get entangled with, also small objects on the floor can be dragged by it across the house, with mobile phones ending up in a corner behind the couch.

It can follow the sides of the room, but it can not reach deep into a corner, it also follows table legs. Also if it finds a lot of dirt it will make a small circle to try and clean it up.

When you run the roomba daily you need to empty it once every three days (but I get a lot of dust because I live across a park).

Re:I have a household robot (2, Funny)

laura42 (1893282) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487652)

What you need is a robot to empty your Roomba for you.

Re:I have a household robot (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489326)

Funny you may be but there was a self-emptying one by Karcher. Unfortunately it was two or three times the price, and you still had to empty its base station once in a while...

Re:I have a household robot (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33497598)

How easy is it to empty? I have dust allergies so I got a Dyson DC26 (arthritis too so I wanted a light one) and it is quite easy to empty out into a bag without getting the dust everywhere. My old Dyson suffered from that.

Having my room cleaned every day, even if not perfectly, would be wonderful.

Re:I have a household robot (1)

takev (214836) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505734)

The Roomba has a quite small bin inside, which you open by pushing a button and sliding it out. The bin has two parts, one for large parts like hairs and a part for dust.

The large part has tooth which you need to clean with for example your finger. The small part you open up to show the filter, you can open this inside the trashcan and shake it out by tapping the filter.

There is also a compartment with two brushes, The two brushes need also to be cleaned from hairs getting stuck at the ends.

Re:I have a household robot (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33509960)

Thanks, that was very helpful.

Re:I have a household robot (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488172)

I'm a bit shocked they worked well at all? I saw one in a shop ages ago and it just didn't look powerful enough to pick up much.

  Do you use it on carpet or wood floors? How does it deal with going around dining table and chairs? Does it miss the edges of the room out? Thanks. I may get one.

I have one and it works perfectly. It does take some time to clean a room due to taking an erratic path around the room modeled on the way insects move but it does at least as good a job as a human with a vacuum cleaner would. If you get shoe laces and loose nokia chargers off the floor it will work around everything else. Changing from hard floors to carpet just works but it can't do deep pile carpets. It has a little spinning brush that gets right up to wall edges, in that regard it's way better than a manual vacuum cleaner. It also gets under beds and sofas no problem.

I consider mine a really good purchase.

Re:I have a household robot (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489392)

Oh, nokia chargers. It loves nokia chargers! I've had to hunt around the house for mine. That and occasionally it moves the doormat halfway across the room. Otherwise I love it!

Sorry to contradict you, but... (1)

gwolf (26339) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488792)

I just bought my first Roomba (yes, first - I would buy a second one for sure!). They are not for sale in my country (Mexico), so I took the opportunity during a trip to New York. I didn't have much time, so I didn't shop around - and was prepared to pay up to $350 (yes, typical series 500 price). They are not available at every large store (i.e. I went to three Best Buys, with no luck, even if their system said they had in stock), and found a 400-series model at a Target. 200 dollars. Two virtual walls, one extra filter - Yes, I'd like to have some spare parts (i.e. a kit of brushes, some more filters).

I know one single opinion does not mean the whole Market is that way - but that's what I saw.

And yes, I am _very_ happy with the thing.

Re:I have a household robot (1)

rajafarian (49150) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489658)

They will be more exciting when iRobot...

And they will be more exciting over the top when they look like Galaxina [google.com] or Cherry 2000! [google.com]

Re:I have a household robot (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33490616)

do you have any pets with fur? how does the roomba handle a house with 2 dogs and a cat?

Re:I have a household robot (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33492636)

It does fine with fur (I have two cats). It breaks down a lot though, I've gone through 2-3 per year on average. I have a slightly thicker carpet than usual so maybe that's why. They work better on bare floor or thin carpets.

Re:I have a household robot (1)

Van Halen (31671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33501382)

We have 3 dogs and 1 cat. The two smaller dogs and the cat don't shed much, but the larger dog (a lab) sheds like crazy. We have 2 Roombas that we got about 3 years ago when the 500 series started coming out. We no longer use them regularly because it's too much of a hassle.

First, they need to be cleaned at least daily with this much pet hair. Cleaning takes at least 5 minutes; if I just spent that time vacuuming normally for 5 minutes a day, the floors would be cleaner.

Often they won't even complete a single run without stopping and saying "Please remove and clean Roomba's brushes." That kind of defeats the purpose of having cleanings scheduled during the day (when we're at work) if it only gets 15 minutes into the scheduled 45-minute cleaning before stopping.

The Roombas will leave "Roombarf" - tufts of pet hair - on the floor when moving from hardwood/tile to carpet. Apparently the vacuum isn't powerful enough to suck all that stuff into the dustbin, so it just drags the hair along until the terrain change knocks it loose.

Every few weeks, we'd need to take the thing apart and do a really deep cleaning, as pet hair got everywhere inside. This would be a 30-60 minute job. One nice thing is that iRobot designed the Roomba to be very modular, so taking it apart isn't too bad.

One of the Roombas is completely out of commission right now because it has a faulty bump sensor. It thinks it's constantly bumping something, so it just spins around in circles trying to get free. I found a great web page somewhere (sorry, don't have the link handy) about fixing this with just a few bucks in electronics parts. I'll probably do it just for the fun of it, but that won't fix all of the above issues.

iRobot has a pet version of the Roomba which came out after we got ours, but from what I can tell, all they did was include a second interchangeable dustbin without the vacuum module that therefore has larger capacity. The normal dustbin combines the vacuum into one integrated part. I can't imagine this larger sweeper dustbin would do anything to pull the pet hair in without the vacuum to help.

For a household like ours, I would like to see a Roomba that's about a full inch taller, giving it room for a larger battery, larger dustbin, and more powerful vacuum and brushes. An added bonus for us is that since a couple of our couches are just the right height for the current Roomba to get under and then get stuck, a larger one wouldn't even go there at all.

I wholeheartedly recommend Roomba for a household without pets (or with very little shedding), but can't really recommend it with pets that shed a lot. Unless you have all hard flooring - it seems to do a lot better with the pet hair there.

Re:I have a household robot (2, Informative)

TheJokeExplainer (1760894) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487160)

How about the XKCD Pet Netbook Robot [xkcd.com] ? :) It's finally been turned into a reality using a One Laptop Per Child XO-1 [laptop.org] + and an Arduino microcontroller [arduino.cc] via Project Butia [olpcnews.com] !

Re:I have a household robot (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487258)

I don't see any hamster ball :/

Re:I have a household robot (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33490646)

or the Mecanum wheels [wikipedia.org]

Re:I have a household robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488128)

Roomba is fantastic, yes the price is high, however, how much do you rate your time? Assuming you 'pay' yourself the minimum wage of £5 an hour, and assuming you spend two hours a week hoovering, then the Roomba 'saves' you £10 a week. If the Roomba is purchased at full UK retail of £350 (for the model that returns to base for charging and is programmed to clean when you are out) then it takes 35 weeks to pay for itself. It then goes on to hopefully work for it's year long warranty period, giving you a return on your investment of £150 and freeing you from dog-hairs and dust. Obviously it helps to not live in one of those houses that has junk piled up everywhere and yes you do have to watch out for not leaving too many balls of wool on the floor, however an investment in a Roomba is one of the best things you can do.

Just like virtual reality and home automation (4, Interesting)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487090)

I think this is one of those things that sounds a lot cooler and more practical than it is in actual implementation.

I'd rather a dishwasher wash my dishes then some humanoid robot.. for the plain fact that a purpose built machine is going to be a lot better at it.

I think there's lots of room for automated or semi-automated machines which I guess you could call robots.. but a "robotic butler" I don't see happening.

Personally I'm waiting for an automated lawn mower that doesn't suck!

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (4, Funny)

takowl (905807) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487100)

Personally I'm waiting for an automated lawn mower that doesn't suck!

You're doing it wrong. It's not a lawnmower, it's a vacuum cleaner.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487114)

I wouldn't mind having a vaguely humanoid robot around the house for when we are away. It could feed the pets and make the house look lived in.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487260)

Then when it's been superseded by newer models, it can run for governor of California

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

CarlosM7 (642308) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493072)

Many here wouldn't mind a robot that fetches beer! [singularityhub.com]

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (5, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487118)

I am waiting for a robot maid to put dishes into a dishwasher, to clean up surfaces, take out garbage and to be able to sort the recyclables out, to put clothes into a washer, move the from washer to dryer, to iron what has to be ironed, to fold the stuff and put it onto the right shelves, to vacuum clean and to wash floors, to shine shoes and to be able to cook, to go to stores, and pick up what's needed, to walk the dog and to satisfy me sexually.

What I am going to get:

a silly looking thing, that'll put the garbage in the dishwasher, recycle the washer, take out the surfaces, move the right shelves into the dryer, then take them out, iron and fold them, vacuum clean the fridge, place the dirty clothes into it, shine the dog, then cook it, and drive the car through a store.

But you know what? As long as it satisfies me sexually I don't really mind that much.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487126)

Good luck with your quest.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (2, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487308)

Your post inspired me to type in a url and guess what comes up: http://bitchbots.com [bitchbots.com] Maybe you can find what you need there.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488266)

well, it's always a pleasure to know that a random comment I make can inspire somebody actually to do something. Once I figure out how to inspire people to do something that is actually useful, I'll have the solution to the failing economy thing, I'll start charging for my comments!

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

zaax (637433) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487322)

I've already got one of thoughs - it's called 'The Wife'. I am still waiting for a copy of the police accident report on how she put the car thought the store window.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487442)

As long as it satisfies me sexually I don't really mind that much.

I've already got one of thoughs - it's called 'The Wife'.

You must be new to this marriage thing.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33487122)

Um... my dishwasher doesn't gather dishes from the dinner table (i.e. floor by the couch), or even the sink, and it doesn't stack them in a cupboard as they're done. Sure, the washing proper is better left to the dedicated machine, but once you've got a bot that can manage the logistics, washing them itself is trivial and hella cool (to watch, the first few times), so that's what'll sell now. In 10 years, they'll be degimmicked to actually make sense.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487220)

A better way might be to replace the dishes, cups, etc with little robots. Or possibly build RFID tags into them so that the household robot knows what to pick up, and what to leave alone.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487284)

A couple of Disney movies come to mind :) Robotic dishes combined with wireless power would be pretty cool.

I only tend to use one plate, knife and fork each day anyway though so I don't mind doing my own dishes. I don't get people that let everything stack up rather than just washing stuff as soon as they're done with it - it just creates so much hassle later. Now, clothes on the other hand.. bring on the robotic maids.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487556)

I don't get people that let everything stack up rather than just washing stuff as soon as they're done with it - it just creates so much hassle later.

I use a queue-based system for dish management and the primary draw is efficient use of resources and time. Once a sink stacks up then you run through it and put the results in the dishwasher, which then sanitizes them. I end up running the dishwasher every few days once it has been stuffed full. I use less water overall than what I achieve washing them by hand, and it also takes me less time.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487712)

I save a lot of time because I never need to take or remove anything from cupboards or drawers, or load/unload a dishwasher. By the time I come back to the kitchen to eat my next meal my dishes have dried from their previous washing.

I really doubt I'd be saving any water by using a dishwasher (it only takes 10 or so seconds to rinse dishes, 20 if I've been cooking - so much easier to clean pots and pans while they're still warm), plus I'd be spending more on soap and electricity. IMO washing-up liquid isn't needed if I've just been having something relatively non-messy like toast and a glass of water (which is my breakfast every day), I only use it for evening meals or if I've had a glass of milk say.

I'd get a dishwasher if I had a family of course, but since it's just me I think my system makes plenty of sense.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

plastbox (1577037) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488316)

Now, sex on the other hand.. bring on the robotic maids.

There FTFY

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487272)

Special-purpose machines are always better. The problem is that you need a lot of them. That's why you're posting on Slashdot using a general-purpose computing machine, rather than a dedicated slashdot-posting machine. This history of technology progresses in cycles, where you begin with specialised machines, then you develop general-purpose ones that aren't as good. Eventually the general-purpose machines become good enough and the specialised ones are relegated to smaller and smaller niches until they disappear completely.

Humanoid is a pretty poor shape for a robot, but it does have one advantage - it can use the same tools that we use. Your house is (almost certainly, given that this is Slashdot) designed for humanoids and contains a lot of specialised machines that are designed to be used by humanoids. A humanoid robot can use all of these without requiring specialised robot-usable versions.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (2, Funny)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487412)

"That's why you're posting on Slashdot using a general-purpose computing machine, rather than a dedicated slashdot-posting machine."
Um, I'm at work. This is a /. posting machine, that occasionally gets used for other things

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487432)

I think we will have robotic houses before we have household robots.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

urusan (1755332) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489548)

The problem is that you have to build all those fancy robotic houses. Most people will probably be okay with loading their own dishes and cleaning their own surfaces if it saves them tens of thousands of dollars on their house.

A household robot would be much smaller and cheaper than a whole new house, and could take advantage of economies of scale more easily.

So, although robotic houses might appear first they will be the playthings of the wealthy. Household robots will almost certainly be what brings home automation to the common person.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33498152)

That was the answer given in an Asimov novel, I forget which one but I think it was in the robot trilogy. They asked why robots were shaped like humans instead of anything else... and it is because they can use the things we use, our cars, our tools, our doors, etc. It's a lot easier to make the robot fit the infrastructure than to make the infrastructure fit the robot!

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487484)

There is no room for a dishwasher in my kitchen, so a robot butler that could clean dishes and do other useful things would be an interesting deal in term of usefullness / space taken.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

ian_from_brisbane (596121) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487624)

I'd rather a dishwasher wash my dishes then some humanoid robot..

What, once isn't enough?

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487890)

That reminds me of the family Flanders in the Simpsons, meticulously scrubbing and drying the dishes, then loading them into the dishwasher.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (2, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487842)

I guess somewhere like Japan where space is limited and you pay a premium for it, the more devices you can combine into one unit the better.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (3, Insightful)

RicktheBrick (588466) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487956)

I want better AI software. I want a speaker, microphone, and a camera in every room of my house. I want a natural language interface with the computer. I want to be able to tell the computer when I am leaving the house and when to expect me back. I want the computer to know when any of my appliances are working and what noise to expect from them. I want the computer to know when an unexpected noise occurs and to figure out what it is and take action if it can or to call for help if it can not correct the problem. In the kitchen I want to be able to tell the computer I am using the last of any food I am using for my meal and have the computer generate a shopping list for me. I want to tell the computer when I put something on the stove or oven and have it remind me when I should look at it again. I want it to tell me when the washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher have finished their work so I can unload them. When I leave the house I want the computer to be able to save me energy by communicating with all my now unneeded devices. For instance all my clocks would be shut off and would be restarted with the correct time only when I am in the room they are in. I want the computer to communicate with every device that runs with electricity, water, or gas. There are still a lot of labor saving actions(by saving me money) that the computer can accomplish just be being able to communicate with those devices and by determining when they are needed.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (2, Informative)

plastbox (1577037) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488392)

All that stuff seems perfectly buildable for an enthusiastic DIY'er. Chances are you are just like me though, knowing full-well that it could be created but leaving the actual work and invention/innovation to someone with more skills. =P

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 3 years ago | (#33490810)

I don't want to tell the computer that i'm out of a food, simply by watching it get used it should know how much is left. hooking it into one of those grocery delivery places would be nice, all the food i need just before i need it at my door when i get home from work. As for the dishwasher/washer/dryer/stove reminder that would be amazing. Something along the lines while cooking "set timer for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally" and i would get reminded say every 3 minutes to stir(only in the room i'm in, not the whole house) and then a 1 minute warning and finally the timer. If I haven't moved to the kitchen after 1 minute remind me again.

Today is August 5th... (1)

catbertscousin (770186) | more than 3 years ago | (#33490896)

...2026.

Re:Just like virtual reality and home automation (1)

rajafarian (49150) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489670)

Dude, how about one that does! Like Galaxina or Cherry 2000!!

Off switch? (4, Insightful)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487130)

I shall write the paranoid post.
Since the robots are not going to take over the world anyway, I assume that they come with an off switch (one of those old-fashioned ones that really mean "off", and not "stand-by")?

I am not sure I would like a machine in my house that can take (semi-)independent decisions without the option to switch it off completely.

sorry, Dave (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33487230)

The off switch actually triggers a response "I'm afraid I can't let you do that, Dave!"
And right afterwards the robots starts pleasing you sexually, assumin you are into Bondage and SM.

Re:Off switch? (5, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487294)

I am not sure I would like a machine in my house that can take (semi-)independent decisions without the option to switch it off completely.

Something tells me you're not a big cat person.

Re:Off switch? (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487714)

Hehe...
I actually thought of pets when I wrote that post.

It's just that pets pose much less of a risk than a rampant robot. Also, a pet will (in an ideal scenario) listen to voice commands, usually only of the owner - most pets don't even listen to those - while theoretically a robot can be influenced and commanded from many kilometers away. What I nean, in short, is that a pet cannot be hacked.

I was thinking of computer programs and/or operating systems that run updates independently, and that do quite a few things without us knowing about it. And I can imagine that it's quite annoying in the best circumstances, and even dangerous in the case of a bug or a criminal that is able to remotely hack a robot.

Re:Off switch? (1)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488004)

Oh, pets can be hacked - see Pavlov. I once trained a dog that it would get a treat every time I said the word "Radio". Then, with it sitting in its owners lap on a long drive, I managed to make it drool all over him. Most dogs are very easy to hack - you'll find that holding a treat is the equivalent of sudo.

Hacking a cat, on the other hand...

Re:Off switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33490278)

Something tells me you're not a big cat person.

You mean, like a Kizinti... or a Kilrathi ?

Re:Off switch? (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487300)

yes, but it's one of those new digital buttons that don't work when you get the equivalent of a blue screen. and they have an atomic power source, so you can't unplug them. if you were a general, I could tell you more.

Re:Off switch? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487916)

Also, Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport unit 5 seems to have developed a personality and believes it is "alive".

Waste of a link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33487132)

I remember when links on Slashdot were to articles that more than just a picture (and I guess a video but I can't see it), and two paragraphs.

Eve no Jikan/Time of Eve (3, Interesting)

B1ackbeard (1417319) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487184)

For those into Japanese animation, check out this short series set in the near future Japan where household androids are commonplace starting to become self aware. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_of_Eve [wikipedia.org]

The State of Household Robots (3, Funny)

M8e (1008767) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487274)

So the (household) robots already got their own state? I don't like the look of this...

I, for one (4, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487344)

I, for one, welcome our new robotic underlords.

Still waiting for.. (2, Funny)

sosume (680416) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487392)

Still waiting for a robot that can iron and fold my clothes, or even a complete workflow: collect clothes, wash, dry, fold and put it back in the drawer. That would be awesome.

Re:Still waiting for.. (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487542)

It's called a woman. Probably much more expensive than a robot, but the added feature is that maybe once a year it will have sex with you.

Re:Still waiting for.. (1)

urusan (1755332) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489598)

Why would I want to have sex with my laundry cleaning machine?

Re:Still waiting for.. (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33502308)

Stare at the same laundry machine for enough years and you'll be amazed at the kind of thoughts that cross your mind...

Re:Still waiting for.. (1)

whrde (1120405) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487548)

...collect clothes...

I'd rather it wait for me to give it my clothes

Re:Still waiting for.. (2, Informative)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487978)

Well, they got a good start on the folding [youtube.com] part (at least for towels).

The state of Household Robots today (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487620)

President Marjorie Bota: Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin: I've always tried to make sense of things. There must be some reason I am as I am. As you can see, Madame Chairman, I am no longer immortal.
President Marjorie Bota: You have arranged to die?
Andrew Martin: In a sense I have. I am growing old, my body is deteriorating, and like all of you, will eventually cease to function. As a robot, I could have lived forever. But I tell you all today, I would rather die a man, than live for all eternity a machine.
President Marjorie Bota: Why do you want this?
Andrew Martin: To be acknowledged for who and what I am, no more, no less. Not for acclaim, not for approval, but, the simple truth of that recognition. This has been the elemental drive of my existence, and it must be achieved, if I am to live or die with dignity.
President Marjorie Bota: Mister Martin, what you are asking for is extremely complex and controversial. It will not be an easy decision. I must ask for your patience while I take the necessary time to make a determination of this extremely delicate matter.
Andrew Martin: And I await your decision, Madame Chairman, thank-you for your patience.


Wait, that's at least a couple hundred years off still...

Virtual robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33487636)

Don't know about robots but there are virtual assistants that can help with just about any stuff that can be done over the phone or internet. Rent A Smile offers both personal and business assistance.

http://www.rentasmile.com

Re:Virtual robots? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488828)

Don't know about robots but there are virtual assistants that can help with just about any stuff that can be done over the phone or internet.

Are these robots or just outsourced Indian labor? Oh, nevermind...

State of Household Robots (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487638)

"One is glad to be of service."

RE: when do we move? (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487738)

Do you mean "When do we move to Japan?" or "When shall we need to lift a finger again?"

For the former, well, I don't speak or read Japanese, so I don't think it would work out very well for me unless the English translations of the user manuals are really good. I don't think I want a robot that I don't know how to turn off (or, in some cases, how to turn on [ezinearticles.com] ).

As for the latter, well, I still enjoy doing things myself, and plan to get off the couch some time in the next hour or so.

Re: when do we move? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33493834)

You should watch more anime. :p

FWIW, I've heard stories of hardcore anime freaks who actually did learn Japanese by watching (subbed) anime, and went to Japan on a business trip for their companies, as they'd listed speaking Japanese on their resumes. After a few days, they were informed by locals that they had rather broader vocabulary than most Japanese-speaking Americans, but their diction and word choice was that of a 14-year old Japanese girl.

Pwning a household robot (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33487850)

"The dream of owning a household robot" might have quite a different meaning in a different context, eh?

I wonder when the first physical theft will be executed totally by remote via controlling a super-sophisticated household robot ("Take jewelery. Put in box. Send box to Astoria.")?

Robots are the best and worst tool possible (2, Insightful)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488246)

I'm pretty sure an android is the best possible all-purpose automation tool, because it can use everything that's already designed for humans.

However, I'm also pretty sure that an android would be the worst possible all-purpose automation tool, since the near-human level AI required would also make it a perfect social replacement for everyone on the planet. Why would I want to deal with everyone else when I can have someone who is the perfect slave?

the downside (4, Funny)

halber_mensch (851834) | more than 3 years ago | (#33488250)

I had a roomba, and I was on top of the world. I had a robotic servant dutifully cleaning my floors so I didn't have to. Then my dog shit on the floor, and the roomba dutifully 'cleaned' the floor, smearing the shit all over the house and crudding up its brushes, gears, and wheels. I don't have a roomba anymore.

Re:the downside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33490366)

I had a roomba, and I was on top of the world. I had a robotic servant dutifully cleaning my floors so I didn't have to. Then my dog shit on the floor, and the roomba dutifully 'cleaned' the floor, smearing the shit all over the house and crudding up its brushes, gears, and wheels. I don't have a roomba anymore.

There's your mistake. You should've gotten rid of the dog.

Still have a way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33488522)

We have been early adopters -- have a couple of Roomba machines and a Lawnbott lawnmower. A mixed bag at best.

The old Roomba Discovery worked pretty good but tangled with the fringes on our carpets. The newer 530 model handles the carpet fringes nicely but requires disassembly and thorough cleaning before every use due to pet hair -- now let me see, what was the point of a robot vacuum? And the Dirt Dog model did a nice job in the shop for a while but needs to have its sensors blown out with compressed air at least once every cycle. Needless to say, the Roomba models are mostly sculpture now, their durability was limited and quite frankly its easier to run the old vacuum or pick up a broom than deal with the maintenance issues. And none of them touched the corners... But we have hope...

The lawnmower, on the other hand, is a wonderful piece of technology -- it just does what it is supposed to do, day after day, with little muss or fuss. It has been cutting our lawn unattended for five years, on its second set of batteries and a new set of motors. But it is autonomous and just does its job. Oh, it can get stuck on occasion, especially after a rain storm. And it doesn't like mowing the dog bones that occasionally end up in the yard. And the blade needs sharpening, just like a big mower, so I keep spares on hand and change it every so often. It self-schedules based on how much the grass is growing so we pretty much just get to enjoy the lawn, not labor on it.

Both groups of devices have their points and when working give us more free time to do other things. But as with anything else there are good ideas and good or poor implementations. The lawnmower is a stellar success in our book but the vacuums are not. Interestingly, the support for the lawnmower has been pretty good though not inexpensive. A real feel that the vendor wanted to work through field issues and make a better product. The vacuums, on the other hand, seem to come from someone who just wants to sell units -- there is support but no sense that the vendor cares. We will probably not buy another one.

Special purpose tools, in my humble opinion, are the easiest to be successful. Our experience with domestic robots shows that. I feel it will be a long time before a general purpose robot will be available that can replace many of the jobs we do around the house -- clean windows, cleanup spider webs, paint rooms, etc. The dishwasher and lawnmower do a pretty good job. Pity about the vacuums, though. The question should always be 'why are we doing this?' and when the solution is more expensive, time consuming or complex than the problem itself its not a solution.

Too much.... (1)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 3 years ago | (#33489564)

Did I just see a robot chair designed to move you from A to B inside your own friggin house?

That's just too much for me.
I can't even begin to comprehend why I, or anyone else for that matter, would want something like that.

If walking from your bedroom to your living room is a to difficult, to exhausting and daunting task you don't need a robot. You need some goddamn exercise.

Disclaimer:
Of course this doesn't apply for the elderly or disabled but there are already plentiful solutions for that. This was just a glorified bling bling version of it.

But since this add (or demo) was clearly targeted at young, healthy, trendy (and probably rich) adults I just find it sickening to watch how pathetically lazy some humans can be.

With unemployment levels... (1)

gagol (583737) | more than 3 years ago | (#33490032)

...is it smart to buy machines instead of hiring a maid?

Roujin Z (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#33492610)

and even robotic wheelchairs to help you get around.

Am I the only person who thought of Roujin Z [wikipedia.org] upon reading that?

We don't need robots we have Pedro! (1)

VirtualJWN (1084071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33497064)

Until the libs decide they are tired of exploiting our south of the border neighbors, robots will never catch on in the USA. Grateful Illegals are much cheaper and easier to main tain (with free GOV healthcare) than repairing a complex automaton. Not a new concept, ancient Greece would have had cars (literally) and many other modern conveniences if not for that handy slave labor. Why buld a car, when you can have a rickshas (which were invented in Boston, though americans were unwilling to "power them", so they were exported to China. Imagine Ted Kennedy running a Ricksha business. "Pahwk the Cahr", sounds way better than "Pahwk the RhicShaw" Would have been harder for Papa Joe Kennedy to run guns and booze if it was human powered.

Robots (1)

VirtualJWN (1084071) | more than 3 years ago | (#33497124)

I bult a "show bot" for a guy....it was for public events, and relations, etc. for a not for profit. The guy was in his 70's and was somewhat of a luddite, and a swindler. Anyway, some words of advice, don't design YOUR friendly PR robot while watching "robot wars". The thing could literally drag a person trying to stop it across gravel, My bad. I was reminded of the "Liberty Mutual Robot Insurance" fake commercial on SNL with Sam Watterston.
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