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Why the Robots will be Moving Into Your Home
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Nov 15, 2004
More Consumer and Education stories
Couch potatoes will soon be able to spend every night slumped in front of the TV as experts yesterday forecast a world where we never need to lift a finger. Intelligent homes where curtains can be drawn at the push of a button, ovens switched on by phone and the housework done by robotic vacuum cleaners are not that far off in the future, research shows.

As more and more households sign up for broadband, the reality of the networked home is being brought closer to every day reality.

From robot vacuum cleaners, all the way to fully wired, interactive homes, Britons are fast embracing the future, a report says.

According to the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the International Federation of Robotics, robots are set to play a major part in family life, not just through doing housework, but also as entertainment systems.

A staggering 4.1million ‘robots’ will be doing jobs in homes by the end of 2007, says the report.

Howard Posner, CEO of Halifax General Insurance, said: “It is easy to see the attraction of automated ‘intelligent’ homes: At the push of a button curtains can be drawn, floors vacuumed and lawns mowed.

“These robots and automated systems are an investment and home-owners should ensure that they have the correct cover for these technological additions to the family.

“Toys are often the first step; it’s only a matter of time before most homes will have ‘robot’ and networked appliances as standard.” Robots designed for the consumer market and employing very basic forms of AI (artificial intelligence) have become increasingly popular in recent years. It is not only housewives and househusbands who are worrying that they could become redundant in the home, man’s best friend the dog is already under threat.

Sony’s Aibo robot dog behaves like a puppy when it is first activated. But it “learns” new behaviour as it spends more time with its human owner. Omron’s NeCoRo robotic cat and Sanyo’s robotic guard dog are other examples of this wave of consumer robots and this is likely to progress in the future as consumer robots become more and more sophisticated.

“AI used to be seen as recreating disembodied rational intelligence,” said Dr Inman Harvey, an evolutionary roboticist from the School of Cognitive and Computing Science at the University of Sussex.

“We’re getting away from disembodied intelligence and turning to the adaptive behaviour of simple, though still very complex, animals,” Dr Harvey added.

Copyright 2004 Bristol United Press

Copyright © 2002 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.

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