When will we have normal home help robots?

Some films - “Robot and Frank”, “I, Robot”,cartoons show the future in which servant robots do the work of maids, carers, nannies, carers, allowing families to spend more time together, and older people to stay independent longer. The future of guardian robots is closer than we could imagine. Robotic vacuum cleaners and robotic lawn mowers are already available, and in Japan there is a boom in assistive technology for the care of the elderly.

Not so long ago, the University of Middlesex robot Pepper presented to the UK parliamentary committee to answer questions about the role of robots in education.

Guardian robots, on the other hand, arerelatively recent phenomenon. As people live longer, the number of older people who need help in everyday life is growing. However, the lack of available caregivers means that in the near future we will face a crisis in caring for adults. In Japan, an estimated 370,000 caregivers will be missed in 2025.

Although modern assistive technologies are allstill far from the future, in which our dishes are prepared by themselves, and all household concerns do not touch us, why don't we try to see what the future will be like.

Home robots

Most robots are now widelyused in heavy industry and manufacturing, where dangerous and repetitive tasks are best performed using automated systems. However, these not tired industrial ones are not designed to work in the presence of people, as they move quickly and are made of solid materials, which can lead to injuries.

Modern "collaboration robots", orKobot, as they are called, made with hard joints and joints. Working in close proximity to people, they move with limited speed so as not to harm anyone.

However, the next generationcollaborative robots will be made from softer materials such as rubber, silicon or cloth. “These robots are inherently safe due to the properties of the materials from which they are made,” says Helg Würdemann, a robotics technician from University College London. "This kind of soft robots with controlled stiffness must achieve accuracy and repetition of existing cobots and at the same time ensure safe interaction with people."

One of the biggest problems is thatthat navigation systems for robots interacting with humans are not yet fully developed. They work, to a certain extent, but easily get confused - like vacuum cleaner robots that cannot return to the charging station. In simple laboratory conditions, robots can determine the best route, but in real conditions, in a house full of tables, chairs and other junk, everything is completely different.

“Many of these algorithms were developed inlaboratories and relatively simple compared to the clutter and activity of people in a real house, ”explains Nikola Bellotto, computer scientist at the University of Lincoln and technical manager at Enrichme, a project that tries to create robots to care for and monitor the elderly.

Robots also do not quite cope with ruggedterrain, and some with stairs. In 2017, the autonomous security robot drowned in Washington after falling from a ladder into an office fountain. Safe work in the presence of children and animals can also be a problem, as was demonstrated in 2016, when a safety robot knocked down a baby in a shopping center in Silicon Valley after a child ran to meet him.

Motion coordination in response to sensoryInformation is also a problem for robots, which limits their ability to interact with the environment. Robots can not cope with the tasks with which most people and even dogs sometimes quite easily cope - for example, catch a ball.

This is due to an incredible amount of factorswhich need to be considered and which can overload the autonomous system and cause errors. “From a machine learning point of view, most decisions are easier for a person than a robot,” says Diana Cook, co-director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the University of Washington. "Some tasks that are mentally challenging for humans are easier performed by the robot, while some simple movements for humans are quite difficult for robots."

Guardians from the "sinister valley"

There is also the question of whether we want ourguardian robots were like humans. There is the concept of a "sinister valley": when objects are very close, but they still do not fully imitate the human form and thus cause horror. Somewhere on the verge of a transition, something artificial arises that literally turns us away from human-like robots. Instead, like the vacuum cleaner robots in our homes, robots can be aesthetically designed according to their functions.

“The more he looks like a person, the more a person under guardianship will resist the help of a robot. A robot will be useful only if a person under guardianship accepts it. ”

In some cases, a non-humanoid robot maybe exactly what you need. Animal robots, such as Paro, are beginning to be used as pets in care homes that do not allow the presence of animals, or as additional companions for people with senile dementia.

Many modern robots are functionallyoriented, like robot vacuum cleaners, not multifunctional. Developing a robotic system to perform several functions can be difficult, especially if the tasks are not related. At least in the near future we will most likely have several guardian robots performing various functions. However, the problem arises: where will we keep them until they are used?

Ultimately, guardian robots will be more likelyto complement than to replace people who care for other people, because robotics can never replace the friendly communication of a man of flesh and blood. Even the most advanced human simulation of a robot will not be able to imitate a person to a tee.

However, it is good that washing dishes and vacuuming the floor is not so difficult for robots. And not lazy. Do you trust robots?

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