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Wave Of The Future: Ubiquitous Personal Robots

Jan 20, 2008
January 2, 2008 With the dawning of the new year comes the announcement that the personal robot may soon be doing more for the consumer than just vacuum their floors.

According to a report from ABI Research, by the year 2015, consumers will be likely to spend as much for a multitasking humanoid robot as they would for a new car. Most personal robots of today perform a single specific function, but this, according to Phillip Solis, an analyst at the New York-based research firm, is about to change.

The most popular personal robots currently on the market are the iRobot Corps Roomba vacuum cleaners. IRobot currently dominates this market and is increasingly targeting areas outside the US and expanding its product line, Solis said in a statement. Its disciplined approach to keeping products relatively simple and practical has enabled the company to lead the market for task robots.

In October 2007, the Nissan Motor Co. presented its in-car Robot Agent product at the Tokyo Motor Show. The robot, built into the dashboard of the companys premier Pivo 2 concept car, uses its built-in cameras to analyze the facial queues of the driver in order to determine whether they are tired or stressed. The robot will be able to speak in both English and Japanese to persuade the driver to pull over and rest if it perceives this as being necessary.

The South Korean government has also announced plans to build two robot theme parks , designed to include amusement parks, exhibition halls, and stadiums.

According to British artificial intelligence researcher and author of the book Love and Sex With Robots, robots will become so like humans that in the year 2050, human beings will actually begin to marry robots, since, says Levy, robots will advance to the point where they can carry on intelligent

conversations, respond to human emotions, and even display their own emotions. The jerky movements and artificial sounding voices generally associated with robots will become a thing of the past, and these humanlike machines will become aids, friends, and even spouses.

Over the long term, expectations of what robots should be able to do will rise, said Solis in the ABI Research report. The increasing cost of more complex servos and sensors will be balanced increasing value consumers place on willingness by consumers to spend more on robots that can make their lives easier or more fun.
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