On New Years eve (2012) I saw the first robot commercial run on network television for domestic use products. Maybe this wasn't the first iRobot commercial, in fact I am sure it wasn't, but this was one of those extra long commercials slated during the "New Year's Countdown" on NBC or something- that really cemented the fact that the future consumer technology market, which is currently dominated by hand-held devices (tablets, smartphones, etc.), will certainly include robots. Exciting news indeed.
Yes, the vacuum-style robots have been on the market for a few years, but this was the first time I have seen iRobot advertise on TV with a hint at future products, or rather what might be right around the corner. The commercial did touch on defence products and other commercial applications, but seemed to lean towards new products for the average Joe.
Right now, it seems that domestic robots, or those for common folks like you and I, just perform a single task. My wife was pushing for a Roomba this Christmas, but to me it just doesn't do that much to warrant the high price tag. No, like many devices or pieces of technology, I am going to wait this out till we see some multi-use robots.
It would seem that for all purposes, these robots of the future are still in the infancy stage, only performing one single task (cleaning floors, clearing gutters, cleaning the pool, and so on). However, when we start to see products like the Roomba, that can clean your floors while also performing another task, say some sort of motion detection like the Rovio does- then we will start to see household robotics really take off.
Many of us can remotely log-in to security cameras inside our home or control lights and appliances from across the globe. What if we were able log-in remotely and control a robot to get the mail, pick up newspapers, or feed a pet- take out the trash? The future of robotics for consumers may be just around the corner.
Honda's Assimo is a star in his own right in his native Japan. Check out this video as well as others to see what human form robots, like Assimo can do.