With a new year comes exciting possibilities, especially when you’re talking technology. And in 2020, it will be impossible to talk technology without bringing up robots for the smart home. This might not quite be the year that we see full-sized humanoid robots, but there is plenty of other artificial intelligence for the home that could make daily life easier, safer and more fun.
Robots “maid” for you
In a recent poll, more than 70 percent of people said their homes would be cleaner if they had robots to do their chores. Luckily, we already have access to robots that will help with some of our chores. Here are some of our favorites.
iRobot Bravva jet 240
Vacuuming can be a never-ending task, especially if you have pets. Robotic vacuums have been making the chore easier for several years now. For those ready to take it to the next level, you’ll see more mopping robots to help tackle more floor – and dirt – types. You’ll definitely want one for those hard-to-reach spaces like around toilets.
Gladwell Gecko Robot Window Cleaner
This robot will do the dirty work whether you have expanses of windows or very tall ones like those that span multiple stories in an entryway. No more hauling in a ladder and perching on it perilously or paying someone to clean your windows for you. Suction keeps it attached to the window, while AI helps determine where the windows’ edges are and makes sure all of the glass gets a good scrubbing.
Worx Landroid robotic mower
Using much the same technology as robotic vacuums, this robotic lawnmower trims your grass while you stay cool inside or focus on other activities like playing with the kids. The Worx Landroid also has rain sensors that will send it back to the docking station when the weather turns, as well as security features like a pin number to start operation and alerts if it strays from your yard.
Artificial intelligence, true companionship
Yes, many people have a fear of robots. While they’re always trying to take over the world in movies, robots can actually bring us all closer together in real life. We already ask Alexa to tell us jokes. We say, “Hey Google, text Mom.” Experts expect 29 percent growth in the market for “social robots” annually over the next few years, so it’s not a far leap to think that some of these companionable robots will soon take up residence in our homes.
More popular today in Japan, BOCCO is a communication robot that helps send text and voice messages, even if someone is too young for, or otherwise unable to use, a smartphone. Kids can talk to the robot, which will then send you a text with their message, or you can send a message from your phone for BOCCO to deliver to the kids. It’s continuously being developed, so compatibility with other devices in the Internet of Things is on the rise, making it a robot to keep an eye on in the upcoming year. Also, he’s super cute.
This adorable little robot can hear, speak and relate to your child using a variety of speakers, algorithms and cues from your child. Miko 2 is also programmed to help them learn, providing knowledge and skills that are right for their age and that you can control. As more research finds that robots can get kids excited about reading, devices like this one will become increasingly popular.
Falls are a concern for many, but this robot can help remove some of the worries. Walabot HOME uses radio frequency to tell if someone in the room has fallen. Then, even if they’re conscious, the device will contact a caregiver. It works anywhere in the home but is especially popular in bathrooms both because falls so often happen in that space and because Walabot HOME does not use cameras. There are also no wearables or buttons that need to be pressed to send an alert.
Robots on the rise … we hope
Maybe they aren’t real yet and maybe no one knows what exactly they’re capable of, but it’s fun to dream about how some of these space-age robots could improve our daily lives.
XR-1 Cloud Robot
Described as a “coffee-serving humanoid machine,” this robot uses 5G connectivity. It’s still under development, but that 5G is what CloudMinds, the company that makes XR-1, says is going to make it revolutionary. Because of the faster connection, the robot will be able to respond to our commands with almost no lag time. Eventually, it could help with household chores and more.
This robotic dog is a spinoff of Boston Dynamics’ original Spot. While Spot is better suited for construction and public safety uses, they anticipate SpotMini to be of greater use in homes. It already has figured out how to help with dishes and open doors. What sets SpotMini apart from other household chore robots is that it operates on four legs rather than wheels. That opens possibilities for assisting on uneven ground and stairways.