Home automation isn’t just something that Tony Stark does in his billion-dollar coastal home-come-robot factory. It’s something that is happening all around us, thanks to the relentless march of technology. Home automation has gone from being something that was the sole purview of tech billionaires to something that practically anybody can afford to do.
CNET has recently come out of the woodwork to claim that 2017 is going to be a “crazy” year for home automation. We’re at that phase of the marketing cycle where companies are trying all sorts of new things to see what sticks. We’ve got toasters that connect to your WiFi, fridges that’ll order your groceries when they think you’re running low and speakers, like those featured on the Smart Future, which will play your favorite music when you walk through the door.
As you can imagine, things don’t remain static in the world of home automation for long. There’s a constant stream of companies launching products which they hope will kickstart this market and make it bigger than smartphones.
So what can we expect from the home automation scene going forwards?
It’s been a dream ever since the 1960s to have a robot that’ll do your housework for you. Unfortunately, despite all the naive predictions of a robot utopia by the year 2000, that never happened. There was some progress, like robot vacuum cleaners, but they were indicative of the wider problem. Until recently, it wasn’t possible to put computers in unfamiliar environments and expect them to function.
But, as in so many other areas of technology, there’s been a big leap forward. Robots are now able to do things which consumers actually want them to do, like iron and fold your clothes, read stories, mop your floor, mow your lawn, watch your home day and night and clean out the cat’s smelly litter box. Though they may not be mainstream right now (the robot that folds your clothes costs more than $60,000), they will come down in price and get better at what they do as the technology matures.
The Emergence Of Smart Kitchens
Last year, robot cooks went from the realm of science fiction into the realm of science fact. A company based in Singapore announced that it was going to open a restaurant operated entirely by a team of robots that would churn out meals, on the cheap, for its happy punters. Robots have learned to follow recipes, stir vegetables in a skillet and even come up with their own flavor combinations.
As you might imagine, a fully automated, robotic kitchen is expensive. But some companies are already looking for ways to incorporate cheap robotic arms into kitchens that will prepare fresh food while you relax or catch up on the news. Companies like LG are also doing more modest things, making fridges which connect to the internet and order food or construct shopping lists so that you don’t have to.
Robots that will help around the home have been promised for a while. But it looks like the time may finally have arrived when we can put our feet up and relax and get our robot servants to do our bidding.