Future of robots?
I want my own R2D2 robot, too
Having seen robots in the movies since I was a kid and been fascinated by them and how the future was supposed to be, I am disappointed that, now I'm an adult, we don't all have our own personal robots.
I know that some tasks can be done by robots and we've probably all seen the tv programs that predict the future by showing items that are at the cutting edge of technology, or we've seen news reports about the latest Japanese robot butler but so far these just seem to be novelty robots probably just made for the media.
My question to you is: do you think there will ever come a time when robots are common place in normal family household?
If so, what tasks do you think they will be undertaking for us?
And, do you think they will be built purely for function and their look dictated by this, or do you think there will ever be a time when a human-looking robot will be assiting us around the home?
How far away would you predict this taking place, if at all?
I would be interested to know your thoughts.
I can understand your skepticism about the latest robot news. But that doesn't mean roboticists are not working on it. But some big issues should be tackled first.Will there ever be robots in our homes?
Really, there are a lot of fundamental problems that should be tackled before you can have your own maid robot. Robots are barely able to grasp objects, can't learn new movements when needed, can't plan handle perturbation in a planning task... Unless we have a breakthrough that changes the fundation of robotics theory, all these problems will take more than ten years to be solved.
For the robots made "for the news media", the reality is that they
are usually made for one very specific problem, and works only in laboratory conditions (I see so many articles that feel like they publish while it has only worked once in practice...)
But we on the other hand, we are not far to have our little emergency robots like the R2-D2 robot
that explore a power plant all by itself and repairs little things along the way. So this kind of robots that carry the plates from the kitchen to the living room may appear in the next five years. There is the Luna Robot that is already available, though I am not sure it will be popular yet. I think the idea is sound, but the realisation is not so good (I would like something smaller and 1000 USD cheaper). What will they do for us?
This is my personal scenario, so poke me every few years to tell me what I got right or wrong.
First, personal robots have started washing the floor, mowing the lawn and a few easy things like that. Check the home Robots page for more details.
Next (<5 years, they will start interacting a little with, to carry objects around (like R2D2 in Star Wars VI, in the Hutt's ship).
At the same time, within ten years, we should have robot friends and pets able to simulate emotions and to react to your actions. Imagine your little robot carrying plates for you and saying it is happy to help, or look sad when you bump into it...
Within ten years, you may have robotic arms in your kitchen that can cook or wash the dishes or these kind of things. Put on a mobile platform, they may be able to wash the windows and make a little dusting. But these last two may take a little more (15 years?).What about androids (human-like robots)?
Androids may not become your personal robots, but have already started becoming receptionist in Japan. Here, they just need to stand and smile and repeat the same greetings to everyone. They will surely evolve in the next ten years, and become able to answer basic questions, hand you some flyers and maybe even walk around a little (though that last one may take 15 years...). More on that in the humanoid robots section.
So I definitely think that personal robots will evolve in the next decade(s), but it will be slow and I may be optimistic, biased by my own expectations and hopes. I don't plan to wait and see though, if I can make my own robots in the future (my own company?).