“The Jetsons” vision of the future featured robots that handle all sorts of mundane household chores. We might not have our own multifunction robot maids yet, but more and more homes are accepting robots into the family fold.
While robot vacuum cleaners like the Roomba are the best-known home-bots, there is a whole world of other options out there. Robots can now handle everything from keeping an eye on Fido to cleaning the gutters on your house.
Looj 330 Gutter Cleaning Robot
It’s a beautiful weekend day outside. You don’t want to waste it perched on a ladder cleaning leaves and dirt out of your house gutters. Robot vacuum maker iRobot (creator of the Roomba) offers up the Looj 330 for clearing gunk from your gutters. The Looj is a strange-looking gadget with tank-like treads, long brushes, and a mechanism that looks like a propeller on the front.
The Looj runs on battery power. You set it into your gutter and let it do its work. The front-mounted auger pushes through debris, lifts the junk, and flings it off to the side. You’ll still need to do some pick-up work to collect the detritus from the ground, but at least you’re not clinging to the side of your house and mucking out your gutter by hand. It’s a dirty job, but it’s one a robot is perfectly willing to take on with no complaints.
Most of us associate Honda with cars, but the company also plays around with the development of robots, notably its high-tech ASIMO humanoid robot. You can’t get an ASIMO for your home yet, but you will be able to get a Honda Miimo robot lawn mower. The lawn mower was originally available overseas but is now making its way to the U.S. to tackle our overgrown yards.
The entry-level Miimo mower can keep a half acre of grass trimmed. The robot will charge itself up when necessary and can be operated on a schedule so it’s truly hands-off. Three different cutting patterns allow it to tackle everything from wide open spaces to narrow areas.
The setup is a bit complex and requires an authorized Honda Power Equipment dealer to come install a boundary wire around the lawn perimeter. The boundary wire, which can be installed either under or on top of the ground, can also be used to protect flower beds, trees, and anything else you don’t want the lawn mower to roll over.
You will have to really hate cutting your own lawn to make the leap to a $2,500 Honda robot, but some people may find the investment worth the expense. The Miimo is due out in the U.S. this summer.
The dream of a semi-humanoid helpful household robot takes a step forward with the introduction of Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri. The rolling black-and-white creature looks like a stylized human figure with a body and a round head with two expressive eyes. Kuri comes equipped with touch sensors, an HD video camera, microphones, a mood light, speakers, and the ability to navigate around a house full of furniture, pets and people.
Kuri is designed to be charming. Touch its head and it makes chirping noises and looks up at you. It has plenty of practical uses. It works with an app, but will also respond to voice commands. It can act as a security cam, letting you view live video of your home when you’re not there. You can use Kuri to check on unusual sounds or see if the dog is sleeping on the couch. It also works as a Bluetooth speaker, playing your music or podcasts.
Kuri is currently available for preorders with an expected shipping date near the end of 2017. The preorder requires a $100 deposit on the $699 price. Kuri is no Rosie, the robot maid from “The Jetsons,” but it represents an interesting development in multipurpose household robots. If Mayfield Robotics delivers on its Kuri promises, then the cute gadget could help bring us one step closer to the robo-powered future we’ve all seen in science fiction.