Category: Tech / Sci / September 26, 2012 12:40 PM EDT
People have been talking for some time about how robotics might replace the human workforce and eventually find their way into the homes. However, not many people actually own a robot at home or a workplace.
But that may finally start to change as personal robots are getting cheaper and finding new ways to prove their value.
Founded in 2011, "Double Robotics" is focused on building beautiful products with a rich user experience that is seldom found in the field of robotics.
The company now is working on an iPad, allowing users to see what the iPad sees and the person you are talking with to see you as well.
"Officers want to feel more connected to remote workers or remote officers. Doctors want to visit patients more frequently. It's great because museums can give a tour of their museums at night when they are closed, to a different country that's awake," said Marc DeVidts, co-founder ofDouble Robotics.
Although many people think of Tokyo or Boston as the hub of the robotics, companies in Silicon Valley are gaining steam.
Willow Garage, located in Menlo Park, California, is a robotics research lab and technology incubator devoted to developing hardware and open source software for personal robotics applications. Its Personal Robot 2, or PR2, has seven cameras and sensors all over it, allowing users to perceive, navigate and manipulate. It costs 400,000 US dollars.
"This robot is designed to help robotics' researchers develop software for the next generation of robots where the hardware will be less expensive. This is the very first personal robot that's a generation before the ones you'll buy," said Steve Cousins, the CEO of Willow Garage.
Henry Evans had a brain stem stroke ten years ago, leaving him unable to move his arms and legs and unable to speak. He said he used PR2 to scratch his face at the first time when he had control of the robot. Now he uses it to grabs things and to shave.
"With a robot, he has the beginning of a possibility of doing something for other people as well. And that's a big deal. It's more than a remote presence. It's actually a remote action," Cousins said.
Although Cousins said that we are still about ten years away from seeing automatic robots like PR2 become widespread at homes, its spinoff company Suitable Technologies will soon release the device.