Welcoming Robots into Your Home

Jacob (Jake) Newberger currently serves as an automation validation engineer with Panacea Technologies, Inc. His previous experience includes working with companies such as AV Divine in the field of home automation. Alongside his career, Jacob Newberger pursues an interest in domestic robots.

Although many people may believe that robots are science fiction, or at least devices of the future, several domestic robotic models already exist. Most of these perform simple functions such as mowing lawns, cleaning pools, sweeping floors, providing pet care, cleaning windows, and vacuuming. These robots thus perform mundane chores, but they can also offer more: some people choose to personalize their robots and give them names.

Those interested in welcoming robots into their homes have a variety of options from which to choose. Companies such as the Robot Shop maintain an extensive selection. For example, the Robot Shop’s robotic vacuum cleaners include the iRobot Roomba, the Neato XV Signature, the E.ziclean, Infinuvo, Mamirobot, and Ecovacs Deebot, among others.


Domestic Robot Technology in the 21st Century

Shadow_Hand_Bulb_large_AlphaJacob Newberger completed his bachelor of science at the Pennsylvania State University in 2011 with a major in mechanical engineering, achieving honors and placement on the Dean’s List. While studying, Jacob Newberger demonstrated advanced knowledge and interest in the design, assembly, and programming of autonomous robots created for domestic purposes.

Until quite recently, partly automated household devices still required some level of human interaction in order to function correctly. These included vacuum cleaners, automated pool cleaners, and food processors. At the beginning of the 21st century, fully autonomous vacuum cleaners introduced a new level of automated control, and research and product development continues today.

Security robots are now used domestically to detect movement and identify potential intruders. While video footage is created, security warnings can be sent via email to alert residents of potential breaches immediately. Robotic lawn mowers experienced a surge in popularity in 2012, and are now produced with electric sensors to avoid obstacles and observe property boundaries. Floor washing and polishing robots have also been developed in recent years. Electronic devices that control utility settings by way of mobile phone applications are gaining popularity, with Google’s purchase and collaboration with thermostat manufacturer Nest.

New Domestic Robots from National Cheng Kung University, By Jake Newberger

Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University recently unveiled two human-sized robots, named David and May. David has the ability to walk on two legs and make athletic movements. David was shown to be adept at basketball, weightlifting, sprinting, and penalty-kicking at the Federation of International Robot-Soccer Association’s RoboWorld Cup. May was designed to assist with household chores and asks humans if they want a soda. The robot is able to differentiate between different kinds of soda and deliver the appropriate drink.

Both robots are equipped with the ability to learn how to recognize objects, surroundings, and human faces. Scientists expect that it will still take several years for robots to be advanced enough to actually enter homes and perform general service functions. Scientists also recognize that teaching robots to speak a language will be a major challenge for the robotics field.

About the Author:

Jake Newberger graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Pennsylvania State University. While at the university, he participated in the Penn State Robotics Club, which triggered his interest in domestic robots.