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How to Optimize Your Home for Robot Servants

Robots can stroll, discuss, run a resort … and are completely stumped by a doorknob. Or a mailbox. Or a unclean bathtub—zzzzt, useless. Sure, the SpotMini, a doglike home helper from Boston Dynamics, can climb stairs, however it struggles to reliably hand over a can of soda. That’s why some roboticists suppose the sphere wants to flip its perspective. “There are two approaches to building robots,” says Maya Cakmak, a researcher on the University of Washington. “Make the robot more humanlike to handle the environment, or design the environment to make it a better fit for the robot.” Cakmak pursues the latter, and to try this, she research so-called common design—the methods by which buildings and merchandise are constructed for older folks or these with disabilities. Robot can’t deal with the twisting staircase? Put in a ramp. As for that pesky doorknob? Make entryways motion-activated. If you need droids at your beck and name sometime, begin fascinated with robo-fitting your digs now.

1. Wide-Open Floor Plan
Any severe sans-­human housekeeping wants a wheeled robotic butler with arms, Cakmak says. That means fewer steps, plus hallways broad sufficient for U-turns. Oh, and hardwood flooring. Thick carpeting slows a bot’s roll.

2. Visual Waypoints
Factory robots work so quick partly as a result of their world is extremely structured—conveyor belt right here, truck over there. So for your robo-home, create landmarks that anchor the bots in house—a promi­nent mild fixture, say, that tells them, “You’re in the dining room.” (RFID tags will assist bots find smaller objects, like cleansing provides.)

three. Right Angles
Imagine holding a ball between two textbooks. Because every floor touches the sphere at solely a ­single level, it’s simple to lose your grip. Robots have the identical downside and do higher holding flat, boxy surfaces. Swap out rounded dishware for rectangular espresso mugs and sq. bowls. And use extra plastic—there might be drops.

four. Button-Free Zone
Machines battle to “see” buttons—to say nothing of pushing them. They’re a lot happier interfacing digitally with Wi-Fi-­enabled (and buttonless) espresso makers, stoves, and dishwashers.

5. Upsized Bathroom
Roomba-type bathtub­room cleaners can’t navigate areas behind bogs or the graduated curves round sinks and tubs. And that step on the entrance to the bathe (already a hazard to older folks) is a barrier. Flatten the room and boxify rest room and tub.

6. Matte Materials
Depth-­notion sensors in robots wig out within the face of shiny or clear objects, that means your stainless-steel fridge and glass tabletops might have to go. Lock away fancy stemware in a humans-only cupboard.

7. Indoor Power Station
Just like architects design a nook for the fridge or range, your robo-home will want house for a power-up station. Wireless recharging when the robotic
rolls up to the zone will make it extra unobtrusive. Maybe proper subsequent to your Tesla Powerwall?

eight. Doors 2.zero
Since robots hate turning spherical knobs, set up flat handles. Better but, purchase computerized doorways that may be digitally triggered by sensors within the bot—and do the identical with dressers and anything that opens.

9. Trackable Humans
If you’d somewhat your ceremonial dinner not be interrupted, give bots permission to observe your location through your telephone or health wearable (“at table,” “by stove”). They’ll depart you alone by means of dessert.

10. Like by Like
With droids able to feeding recent garments right into a folding machine, there’s no want to monitor wash cycles anymore. Just find the laundry room close to your walk-in closet for most effectivity.

11. Gastrobotics
Bots received’t be cooking too many meals from scratch (and you’ll’t be bothered), so get a sensible fridge they will inventory with meal kits and a sensible oven they will management remotely. Mmm—bot-made meals everytime you need.

12. Raised Garden
Solar-powered horticultural bots want loads of daylight and like their vegetation organized in easy-to-navigate rows and columns. Put your backyard on the roof, with a close-by shed to retailer your autonomous lawnmower.


This article seems within the January difficulty. Subscribe now.

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