A very clever robot unveiled at the annual consumer electronics expo in Las Vegas has brought humanity one step closer to either a delightful futuristic wonderland of household ease, or a kind of terrible dystopian future, depending your perspective.
Our salvation from housework comes in the form of San Francisco company Aeolus’ Robot – it’s yet to be officially named – an ever-learning domestic helper that can mop, tidy, move furniture, and even fetch drinks from the fridge.
Not only is the robot equipped with an artificial intelligence system that allows it to adapt to the home’s daily schedule, but it is also connected to an information-sharing network where the robots can swap information on household objects (and perhaps, share their plans for say, world domination, once they’ve finished folding the laundry.)
The robot can remember where lost items were placed and distinguish between similar-looking items as well as human faces, which means it can return dropped toys to the right bedroom. No word, though, on whether or not it can hold a grudge.
“Right now it’s like a child, but we will continue to grow its capability so that it grows from a child to an adult. The more people that use the robot, the stronger it becomes,” said the company’s global chief, Alexander Cheung.
He believes it could be of particular assistance to elderly family members who might struggle with other household tech, as it responds to verbal commands and can also recognise “changes in postures”, meaning it can respond to a potential fall.
To top it all off, it has Amazon’s “personal assistant” computer Alexa built in for extra user-friendliness, and you can watch what it’s doing remotely via an app. Related: Futuristic gadgets to make life easierRelated: Make your home a smart homeRelated: Unexpected benefits of a smart home
There is some suggestion that the robot’s size and potential price may rule it out for many households, although The Verge reports it should come in at less than $US20,000 ($25,000).
And putting aside the technophobia, having a robot friend that’s considerably smarter than a Roomba might be worth the price, especially if you really, really, hate mopping.