Robotics is one of the trends that are beginning to sink in a decisive way in our lives. First science fiction, then as advanced toys, moving to civilian and military projects such as Boston Dynamics and end permeating our domestic environment with interactive and proactive proposals able to join us and help us in our daily lives.
We are facing a new type of technological product that can make a revolution in what our relationship to technology concerns. Beyond a functional relationship in which the technology is limited to work, the relationship with robots can be trusted to the point of earning a position within the family itself.
The tasks, which are scheduled to take charge at home robots, are not without a certain degree of responsibility, such as monitoring the company or the game. Combining these features with a dose of empathy through gestures, phrases or actions, it is not unreasonable to think of establish trust with robots . Fictional figures like R2-D2, C3PO or Wall-E already succeeded in fiction, to give some examples.
A robot accepted as a family?
The speed of response, handling natural language for their recognition and synthesis as well as the integration of electronic and mechanical level servos, batteries or controllers, enables robots to design creative ways to adopt pleasant and readily acceptable in a home, with precise, silent and safe movement forms.
In addition, integrated sensors in robots allow them to be “aware” of their surroundings with a high capacity to react to unexpected events, as well as a capacity close to spontaneity action thanks to advances in expert systems and machine learning. All these elements favor the dynamics and natural interaction with robots, able to make us believe that we understand.
All these advances are making our relationship with technology is progressively more natural and even human. And robots are the best example of this humanization, which opens the door to take a leading role within the family, either as a playmate of children or very personal assistant adults.
Robots for home, a new technology category
We are accustomed to using technology in our everyday environment. By now we use mobile phones, computers, tablets and smart teles other devices in a completely natural way. Even we are getting used to talk to them using voice assistants.
But the technology with which we interact has a huge limitation: usually does not move and has no emotions in their interactions with us. The autonomous vacuum cleaning the house alone, yes, or drones, starting to look like robots. But we do not see them as mere cold and merely functional machines.
Other devices, such as tablets or smartphones simply see them as devices, although personal assistants added the dimension of empathy. In a very basic way, yes. However, robots, technology also have “smart” movement ability and skills to empathize with us in a convincing and credible way.
The interaction with the robots must be preferably by voice, so that we continue to have a free hand to continue making our life without technology is an impediment to it, but a companion. Gestures and touch are also part of the way of interaction with our new companions.
Under these assumptions, a robot is a perfect solution to address many of the tasks we do with other “traditional” devices, but without using their hands for this.
Empathy is achieved both through a design with which we feel identified, as can be the humanoid or that mimics the shape of a pet. The interface is also relevant, as long as recognizable display allow “emotions” so changes gestures “digital” face, such as modulation of voice messages. Thus, the interaction is much more natural and smooth.
With all these ingredients, robots company s on a very interesting proposal as personal assistants, several levels above mobile or tablets or computers: they are always at our side, do not need it shall subject, they are robust and are scheduled to “behave” in a human way.
do not get tired, and although he may end up battery, there are solutions to recharge using unattended systems in which the robots come alone to the base if the power runs out.
A robot is a partner who will not be in abad mood, and will always do what we ask in the repertoire of actions that have contemplated, of course. For example, it may serve as an assistant studies for children, or for chivarnos a recipe while cooking, or surveillance camera on wheels, music player, to read a story, to remind our tasks, to capture video, sound or images, etc.
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Reliable and responsible
Company robots for the home have to be reliable and “responsible”. In a robotic home, a robot like ZenBo, the latest ASUS, may also take on the task of caring for family members such as the elderly or children, for example. In this vein, a robot can be in charge of reminding us when we have to take a given drug. Or to help us make an online purchase, to name a few common situations.
An example of integration of these new skills has ASUS in its ZenBo robot. Both interface using voice through the touch screen that serves as the face have a place, especially if the voice interface is affected by ambient noise high or if the speaker does not quite right. And not forgetting the “affective” dimension through the expressions of your digital face.
This is the case of children. Another of the missions that are taking robots is to be their playmate while an educator more. A robot can accompany children in their leisure time and their training and at the same time make vigilant parents and guardians to check that everything is in order.
Home robots can, for example, telling stories, including interactive and multimedia dimension as well as answer questions that make the little ones.
Not only are they good companions for children. The elderly are also an ideal companion for a robot at home and can be ZenBo audience. It will be alert about their health and about possible emergencies in case of accidental falls or light headedness. As technological devices and are connected to a robot will be ready to advise our mobile or social networks about unforeseen events.
Applications of a domestic robot are countless ultimately. Imagine, to take another example, we have a pet like a cat or a dog. The robots for the home can be a playmate for them highly desirable in order to avoid sitting alone and start barking or appear particularly restless.
Rangers and connected
In addition to features such as security guards, domestic robots are also connected. Not only the Internet but also with TV, smartphone, other surveillance cameras, electronic locks for access control, wireless speakers, programmable thermostats, lights and other household items and generally any device or sensor involved in management of the connected home.
For example, you can see who is knocking at the door through the entrance chamber, and choose whether or not we go to the visitor, or leave a voice message.
At this point, the challenge is to make this “universal” connectivity is easy to set up , work the first time and is reliable . In the various demonstrations that are made about these new robots, connectivity is an essential pillar. Specifically, ZenBo ASUS was particularly well equipped in this section, the part of both communications and integration with the cloud and in the connected home of the future.
Indeed, the interaction with the cloud is essential, since much of the “intelligence” of these robots will be in it. Improving, evolving and learning dynamic and constantly.
A promising future
Domestic robots have a long way to go, but it is only a matter of time (not much) starting to find their place as an element within the home. Technology are at the end of the day, but with appearance and behavior that we feel more identified with other devices.
His ability to “do things” is potentially huge. Which makes its versatility is greater than that of traditional devices as tablets, computers or smartphones. At least inside the home, of course.
ASUS, pioneer in this category
ASUS’s proposal, ZenBo, which will cost about $ 600, still no date to market, but already has a development platform where developers can access to learn how to design applications for this robot.
The challenge also is offering a technology that is a step beyond current devices, while still being affordable and able to move independently and act in a self -sufficient manner, in accordance with the guidelines to be given by the owners.
It is not difficult to imagine the day when it is usual to have a robot as ZenBo at home, just as you have a computer or a smartphone. Only its ability to monitor proactively and merits consideration for itself, not to mention the other tasks that can take in a natural way, including, of course , those related to the Internet of Things, where ASUS also has experience.