iRobot’s CEO Colin Angle thinks the essentials of home will be a robot, rather than robots being added extras to make life easier in the home.
Whether they’re used to keep security in your home tight, to clean or to tell you when you’ve got an appointment, need to take medication or to entertain, robots will be powering everything in the home i the years to come – and by years, we mean a few, not ten years.
“The home of the future is a robot,” Angle said at TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing. “And the vacuum cleaners and the other devices are hands and eyes and appendages of the home robot.
“Ultimately, this smart home of the future isn’t controlled by you cell phone. If you have 200 devices, you’re not going to turn them on by pulling out your cell phone. We need a home that programs itself, and you just live in your home, and the home does the right thing based on understanding what’s going on.”
Although robots are becoming more intelligent, there’s still a little way to go before they can react in the same, natural way as humans. The main challenge is now understanding what’s going on and how robots can re-purpose their actions to be relevant.
“The challenge of robotics and AI for robotics isn’t so much the AI — that’s actually easy,” Angle added. “It’s understanding what’s going on. There’s been AI systems for the last 20 years that could understand the sentence, ‘please go to the kitchen and get me a drink.’ But if you don’t know where the kitchen is, that doesn’t help you.”
iRobot is now developing a home that is built for robots, rather than building a robot for a home. It means it can create the perfect environment to make all robotic devices in the home work in harmony, rather than forcing them into an environment that isn’t necessarily the easiest to understand.