Robots are coming to homes everywhere as the computerized gadgets take over this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The show consisted of many family robots as well as specialized robots to make the menial tasks of everyday life a bit easier for consumers. While some robots remain in early stages of production, some may be available as early as this year and most will be available for purchase by 2016. Feelings about the presence of robots in the household vary as consumers get used to the idea of an electronic “family member.”
The “internet of things” quickly became the theme of this year’s CES in Las Vegas, as the gadgets presented depended heavily on internet connectivity. With everything from grill cleaners to sprinkler systems and home robots to office robots, the CES presented a variety of electronics that are sure to make life easier for those able to purchase these special gadgets. Inventors from around the world gathered to make a favorable impression on those in attendance with their dazzling strides in technology.
One type of robot that seemed to be a hit at the technological convention was the concept of a family robot. South Korea’s Furo-i Home is one example of these advancements in robotics. The family robot features a sort of cone on wheels with a screen to display a friendly face that responds to human interaction. Connected to any product with an internet connection, the robot has the capability of turning lights, music, and heating on or off, as well as the ability to teach children and help care for the elderly.
Yet, this is not the only robot with Jetsons’ capabilities. Bocco is another friendly robot developed by the brilliant minds in Japan. With a focus on keeping loved ones connected, Bocco allows users to send voice messages instantly to family members, not unlike the new iPhone voice message technology. This family-oriented bot also features a sensor which allows family members to keep track of whom gets home from a distance, the perfect solution for the working single parent.
Other technologies featured at the show are more specialized in their capabilities. Casey Nobile from the Robotics Trends news site states that creating specialized bots is a wiser strategy as robots that attempt to tackle everything may end up performing each task poorly. Such robots at the CES include Droplet, which is the gardening tool that allows users to determine how much water is delivered to each plant in their yard. Connected to the internet, the gadget can also detect weather patterns and delay water dispensary when rainfall is predicted.
However, do these tantalizing technologies pose a threat to humankind? Many approach the prospect of a family robot with caution, worried about further threats to privacy in an age where nearly everything is in the public domain. Not wanting to add home life to that list, consumers are wary of the new technologies, with some even worrying about robots replacing them in the workplace. Forbes assures its readers that this possibility has been greatly exaggerated, and it is in fact more specialized robots which perform small tasks more efficiently that pose a greater threat for job replacement.
With the internet of things becoming the hit of the CES, robots are slowly but surely coming to homes everywhere in the near future. With gadgets ranging from specialized tasks to all-in-one family friendly bots, there remain a huge range of possibilities for consumers interested in joining the trend. The latest in robotics technology leaves many pondering the question, what will they think of next?
By Carly Szabo