Rather, robots are multi-talented machines. They can drum, for starters, help in search and rescue missions, work as receptionists, and even go into space. The question we all ask ourselves, however, is: how can these extremely intelligent machines, whose learning capacity exceeds that of many humans, be best used to do our household chores? At least one team is trying to find out.
A team from Columbia University recently unveiled a robot capable of ironing your clothes. Described as a “new solution” to regular ironing, the system uses “curvature scanning”, to estimate “the height deviation of the surface of the fabric”, and “discontinuity scanning”, which detects folds in the fabric.
The robot is then able to detect areas of your clothes that need ironing and – obviously – iron them.
Robots designed for other purposes can also be used for housework, as evidenced by Atlas, the robot designed and operated by the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC).
Atlas, which placed second in the DARPA Robotics Challenge, was designed to compete in a number of search and rescue categories, such as climbing stairs, opening doors and driving vehicles – a selection of difficult tasks for a robot. That doesn’t mean Atlas is above chores though, and the team taught him how to clean a house.
Your house is clean, your ironing done, what’s left for your robot buddy? If you’re feeling peckish, RobotHow’s PR2 can cook you pizza or pancakes. The tasks – which are simple for humans – are quite difficult for robots to complete, but PR2 is capable of unscrewing a jar, getting a glass of water, and even cooking your dinner.
In the same way, Barrett WMa robot developed at the Italian Institute of Technology, can easily flip pancakes.
What if these chores don’t appeal to you? There is always the robot that breaks down the doors.