iRobot’s Roomba has been keeping home floors clean for nearly two decades. The company will soon unveil a robot that can apply that same technology to the outdoors, keeping your yard trim with Terra. Managing walking surfaces is helpful, but consumers begin to expect more from these machines as they get more comfortable with home robots; they want a robot that’s a little handier around the home. That’s why iRobot is working on a robotic butler with arms.
Rumors of a robot butler
Colin Angle, Chief Executive Officer at iRobot, says that the company is working on a home robot with arms that can assist with household chores: loading the dishwasher, gathering clothes on laundry day, and serving meals at supper time.
In 2013, the company developed a robotic hand that is impressive even seven years later. It could palm a basketball, pick up a tiny ball bearing, and deftly lift a plastic identification card from a flat surface (humans can’t get this right 100% of time).
The hand sensed object location and could grasp tools and everyday items of various shapes and sizes. It was powerful enough to lift 50 pounds yet dexterous enough to turn a key in a lock and pick up a straw with a pair of tweezers.
The project had funding from DARPA’s autonomous Robotic Manipulation program, Hardware track (ARM-H). The goal of that project was to build a robotic hand that was robust, low-cost, and dexterous, and iRobot succeeded.
It will still be at least five years before we see a robotic butler handing us dirty laundry and dishing out casseroles (will the home robot clean its own hands, or will it need to be disinfected?).
Home robots are neat, but factory robots are necessary
Robots in the home setting are exciting and they can cut down on your list of chores. It’s the machinery in your factory that really matters, though. Make sure that you keep your factory robots in great condition. We can help with that.
Call 479-422-0390 for repair, service, maintenance, or inspection for Indramat industrial motion control systems.