Date:26 February 2018
Robotics and AI are a growing industry, with new strides in these technologies being made almost faster than one can keep up. Many robots are quirky, interesting or just plain amazing, however although tech that is still being refined and developed may be useful in future, here are some robotic products that are already on the market and that can make your everyday life a whole lot easier.
There are a number of robotic vacuums on the market, which have been tested and reviewed, such as the iRobot Roomba range. Robot vacuum cleaner technology has advanced enough to make these compact cleaning devices capable of cleaning your floors as well as the traditional manned vacuum cleaners. These make use of use side brushes, spinning brushes and filters to do the job and those with Wi-Fi can be programmed and controlled remotely using your smartphone and some of them can even be activated with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa voice commands.
The disk-like vacuum cleaners can travel under beds, tables and couches (that are not too low), have a running time of about an hour before needing to recharge and will pilot themselves to the docking station when necessary.
Robotic Lawn Mowers
Flymo, John Deere and Bosch all make robotic lawnmowers, as does the original robotic mower brand Robomow. Some of these mowers are aimed at large gardens, some focus on blade design and quality (such as John Deere which prides itself on the fact that these are protected from obstacles like rocks), others like Bosch’s Indego 400 Connect is programmed to start mowing at different points across the lawn each time, reducing the risk of over-mowing a certain section. Various features, like rain sensors, are available or in the case of the Robomow RS635, if it detects that the grass is too slushy and waterlogged it will retreat to dry ground. And unsurprinsingly, there are those that can be controlled via smartphone apps.
WheeMe is a palm-sized robot, created by Israel’s DreamBots, that can drive along your back, using a unique sensor technology, “creating wave after wave of soothing sensations, without falling down or losing grip”. It also vibrates to help “ease aches and strains” and has long “Tingle Fingers” that can be attached for a fun tingling sensation that Wheeme says are relaxing and “remedial”.
Evoc has a range of robotic window cleaners such as the Winbot 950 and Winbot 850 that are currently on the market and the company unveiled its latest cordless, automatic window cleaner, the Winbot X (pictured above) at CES 2018. The current models have hanging cables, which the new model does away with – although for safety sake the ‘safe tether system’ still exists. This tethers the bot to the window via a cord that sticks to glass and automatically retracts if the Winbot looses suction.
We admit that this one is not available in the market, but we hope that it finds its way there to spawn a host of products from competitors that will eventually drive down the price and make this kind of thing far more accessible. A pipe dream perhaps, but when you find out what the Moley MK1001 can do you may agree that could be the most useful robot of the lot. The futuristic MK1001 tube contains a full kitchen operated by a robot master chef that learns recipes, cooks them and clears up after itself. The prototype won “Best of the Best” at the 2015 CES in Shanghai and the company is currently working on further developing the product and preparing it for market. The cooking skills of Master Chef Tim Anderson, winner of the BBC Master Chef title were recorded on the system, according to Moley, including, “every motion, nuance and flourish” then his exact movements are replayed through a pair of fully articulated robotic hands.