Domestic robots in your home

Domestic Robots in Home
Domestic Robots (infographic from

Today’s smart homes are still a far cry from the futuristic visions of the last century.  Home automation has certainly advanced over the last one hundred years.  Think about the washer and dryer, and even the personal computer.  It’s time for domestic robots in home.  If you’ve seen episodes of the 1960’s TV show The Jetsons, you remember how their domestic robot. Rosie the Robot cooked, cleaned and was a companion for Elroy.  Rosie’s legacy has set the bar very high for domestic robots – and we are approaching that standard rapidly!

Today we take for granted many of the automated systems in our home.  What takes minutes with the help of our modern appliances, took hours with early rudimentary counterparts; and most likely an entire day without any automated assistance.  Certainly the average person fifty years ago would not have imagined their home being automated by programming their appliances, and certainly not on a cell phone.  The 1962 and 1964 World’s Fair introduced the futuristic smart home to the average person; and to some extent, we’ve already surpassed those expectations.  We were introduced to the idea of a centralized “brain” that controlled the home in 1962; and computerized appliances and time saving devices in 1964.

Many home automation tools that were developed through the 1960’s were not available to the average person because of costs and/or technological limitations.  Consider that remote controlled television was developed in the 1950’s, and color television became widely available during the 1960’s.  The personal computer as we know it was developed in the 1970’s, but wasn’t widely available until the 1980’s.  However, as home automation rapidly progressed with the technological jumps of the last half of the twentieth century, devices became more affordable and common place.  Fast forward fifty years, virtual reality is the home entertainment trend and many refrigerators have more computing power than the PC’s developed in the 1970’s!

As smart homes advance, robotics will be an integral part of your life.  In fact, you can buy a robot today.  Of course, you’ve heard of Roomba the floor cleaning robot.  Roomba’s parent company, iRobot ( also sells a pool cleaning robot and other robotic devices for the home.  There is the Litter-Robot ( to clean after your cat.  And although they’re not like robots portrayed in the movies, there are humanoid robots for sale today that can be programmed for simple tasks.

Tumotech, a defunct online magazine about future disruptive technologies and innovations, declared the rise of domestic robots in a May 12, 2014 article “The robot revolution – The rise of domestic robots.”  Initially, it is thought that advances in robotics will allow robots to clean homes, take care of the lawn, be a security patrol, and even tend to those who are ill.

As robotics and other technologies rapidly develop and merge, it is conceivable that we will have humanoid robots doing much of our daily tasks and interacting with us as companions in twenty years!  However, having humanoid robots in the home may not be as wonderful as we anticipate.  In their chapter If I had a Robot at Home… Peoples’ Representation of Domestic Robots,” psychologists Scopelliti, Giuliani, D’Amico and Fornara suggest that robots taking over our daily tasks and moving in to our homes may be detrimental to our self-esteem and personal identity (Designing a More Inclusive World. Edited by Keates, Clarkson, Langdon & Robinson, Springer, 2004).

By Dan Krell
Copyright© 2016

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