Consumer Robots for Smart Homes: An AI revolution
June 3, 2021
5 min read
2020 has turned out to be quite a dreaded year. But fingers crossed, we are sure it’s not going to be that way for long. For one, we can bet that cognitive technologies like consumer robots and artificial intelligence are going to make life fun, entertaining and convenient. Unlike how Fembots have been portrayed in Austin Powers, these robots are friendly and can actually make your day. Something like having Baymax (from Big Hero 6) with you all the time. In fact, if you take a closer look at Cocorobo’s face (one of the robots mentioned later), you’ll realize why we make that connection.
With the introduction of artificial intelligence in consumer robots, the consumer robotics market is set to grow by leaps and bounds. According to Tractica, the consumer robotics market is expected to reach US$19 billion by 2025. Robots are being used for purposes stretching from pool cleaning to lawn mowing and provide powerful examples of applying AI in our everyday lives. While the use of AI and robotics has predominantly impacted the world of business, it has noteworthily made its mark in smart home systems as well. Some of the examples of robotics at home/consumer life includes:
- Care for older persons
Use of Artificial Intelligence in Robotics: The Where, How, What and When
If cleaning your house is a task there is good news for you. Intelligent consumer robots do not think of cleaning your house as a task. Rather, they are made for it. The market today has several AI-powered cleaning robots that would love to take up this job immediately.
iRobot’s Roomba, launched in 2002 had basic AI capabilities when it was launched. It could recognize walls and avoid staircases using AI image recognition. However, the new updated version of Roomba – S9+, launched in September 2018, has advanced decision making capabilities.The Roomba S9+ can scan room size, identify obstacles, remember routes, can also remember the places it has previously been to, remember the layout of the house and even adapt its cleaning process for different surroundings.
Another key feature of this robot is it can measure its energy level and will dock itself when needed, without any assistance at all.
To this list, we may also add Sharp Corporation’s RX-V100 also known as Cocorobo (the one that looks similar to Baymax). Cocorobo, an artificial intelligence robot has capabilities like image recognition, speech recognition and natural language processing. The robot can report current status, understand simple voice commands like “Clean” and can even return greetings in English, Chinese and Japanese.What’s more? It can send users pictures of rooms when they are away, so as to keep users updated on what’s happening at home.
If the COVID-19 situation is making you restless at home, these entertainment robots are something you should think of getting. These robots are built purely for entertainment and cannot help with other tasks. However, just as AI chatbots for eLearning have been developed for providing educational content and learning support at all times, roboticists are aiming to integrate STEM knowledge into entertainment robots so that kids can learn while having fun.
For instance, Cozmo, a robot built with a fun personality and a range of emotions, can make your dullest day come to life. The personality of Cozmo has been developed by using deep AI, robotics and computer vision. Cozmo has built-in game play content to keep you entertained, and Cozmo gets more competitive as it gets more familiar with your moves. Also, if it wins it does a victory dance which is bound to make you smile.
Emotech Olly is a friend, a coach, and a caretaker in the guise of a robot. Emotech Olly has an evolving personality, which means it will have a conversation with users differently every time it interacts. The personality has been developed using artificial intelligence and machine learning services. By using AI technology it can ‘understand’ facial expressions, vocal intonations, can have proactive conversations with its owners and even provide proactive suggestions. For example, if Emotech Olly sees its user exercising with its inbuilt camera, it will immediately start motivating the user by saying “one more” or if it sees him/her having a rough day, it will suggest playing his/her favorite jazz music so as to provide calm and relief from stress.
Security and Surveillance:
Crime rates are on the rise everywhere and this has led to increasing concern regarding the safety and security of homes. We have already seen a few examples of how AI is being used for cybersecurity. However, using AI capabilities to empower home security has proven to be just as effective. To cater to this demand, several companies are coming up with their own versions of AI-powered security solutions. However, the most notable ones are BuddyGuard and Deep Sentinel.
BuddyGuard, has recently launched its AI-powered security camera called Flare. Flare uses AI to identify faces and detect unusual sounds. Using AI capabilities such as facial recognition, speech recognition, and motion sensing it can identify unusual activity and can warn owners immediately by sending alerts over the smartphone.
While BuddyGuard’s security system is definitely impressive, Deep Sentinel’s AI-powered security system is remarkable .The system is built with neural networks, computer vision and deep learning algorithms. When motion is detected, the camera starts to record and AI analyzes the situation for any potential threat such as an unidentified person. In case of an approaching threat, the robotics and artificial intelligence system sends a signal and live streams the footage to the guards. Guards intervene either with a two way audio or a built-in siren. If the intervention by security guards still does not work, the law enforcement agency is informed in seconds, so they can help out with the situation.
Care of the elderly:
A developed society is marked by its facilities provided by the elderly and needed. While resource, financial and manpower crunches has often disabled the ability to offer optimal services, there’s always technology to look to during these times. There are different types of AI consumer robots in the market today, built for taking care of the elderly, especially with providing them with a healthy and engaged life. Machine learning in business operations has already achieved remarkable feats, and now the algorithms are also being used to develop some of the most innovative consumer robotics for elderly care.
With that said, meet ElliQ, an intelligent robot designed to ensure the elderly in your home lead an active, healthy and engaged life. ElliQ uses questions related to wellness to understand goals, personality and circumstances of the user. By analyzing the answers with machine learning algorithms, ElliQ provides suggestions to the users to meet their needs. ElliQ can also help elders stay mentally active by quizzing and searching content from the web that is interesting for them.
With Pager, you get another example of an artificial intelligence application in robotics, helping out with care for elder people. Pager uses AI to provide information regarding minor aches, pains and illnesses. By using machine learning algorithms the application can even identify gaps in treatment and provide healthcare recommendations, schedule appointments, and even help in making payments. Users also have access to a nurse 24/7 via text chat.
What the future holds for AI in Consumer Robotics
Artificial Intelligence and consumer robotics will play a huge role in the near future. With the development of smart homes, we expect an increased demand in the years to come. Robotic manufacturers and AI technology providers are teaming up to provide better services in all aspects of life.Though, questions are being asked regarding the confidentiality of the information these robots should be having to and the stakeholders who should have access to the information, however, there is no denying that Artificial Intelligence with consumer robotics is a winning combination.
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