The use of robotics in an IoT integrated smart home is nothing new. We've been using robotic devices such as automatic vacuum cleaners for nearly a decade now. But as we approach a seamlessly connected smart home ecosystem, the functionality of robots is increasing to address areas other than the typical housekeeping. Today’s robots have a more intelligent understanding of their physical surroundings and lodgers as a result of machine and deep learning.
Take, for instance, the Roomba 980. Launched in September 2015, the device features functionality similar to that of a vacuum cleaner. But due to its seamless integration with the Cloud and the rest of other smart home appliances, Roomba 980 is able to build its own navigation map indoor and outdoor to make sure every single corner is cleaned properly.
Of course, there are robots with more diverse functionalities than doing chores. Jibo is believed to be the world’s first social robot that can be an interactive toy, a webcam, an assistant, etc. Although it lacks mobility like a conventional robot, it does have some advanced features like face-tracking camera with internal motors so that it can track you as you move along the room; voice recognition so that Jibo can recognize different lodgers of the house and act like an assistant to them, such as sending out reminders. The face-tracking feature is one of its kind as it can enable you to participate in a video conference without being restricted to your chair or couch. Over time, Jibo will learn more about your preferences and adapt to each individual house lodger.
Technically, there are infinite possibilities and opportunities for robotics to boost a smart home ecosystem. However, for the sake of profitability, manufacturers should restrict themselves to domains where the market prices and functionalities appeal to a customer. There is certainly no lack of innovation in this field, but the challenge lies in picking up such an idea and transforming it into a cost-effective and practical commodity. In the coming years, we will be seeing more of robots that will make our in-house life easier. Such robots will be wirelessly operated, self-learning and will be controlled through voice rather than a mobile app. The navigating robots will have a spatial understanding of their surroundings, which will permit them to provide a more personalized value to the lodgers of the house. The stationary ones will be more oriented towards overall control of the house, such as switching the cooling system as soon as a particular lodger enters the home or taking control of the alarm system when the house is unattended.