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Future Tech: 

Get robots to do your weekend chores


Sausages in a bowl? *Sigh* stupid robot…

Robots may be capable of working in banks and forging your handwriting, but when it comes to really getting their hands dirty they tend to play dumb. How convenient – the rigid movements, the awkward robotic voice and the bumping into walls. It’s almost as if they just don’t want to clean our bathrooms.

Well robots, the game is up – you’re not fooling us any longer. The weekend ahead is stacked with thankless tasks, and it’s about time you obeyed your almighty human masters and followed orders. Let’s see how well they get on…

1) Making breakfast

Admittedly, not everybody finds cooking a chore, but after a busy week at work we’d rather hit snooze have our breakfast delivered by a devoted robot servant. Leave it to James and Rosie, which, despite being two of the worst-named robots we’ve ever encountered, can whip up a pretty mean bavarian breakfast in just a few minutes.

As you can see in the video below, the curly-armed Rosie is responsible for boiling sausages, while James pops down the shops, slices up a baguette and eventually serves up the dish. It’s not going to win any culinary prizes, but hey, what more do you want from sausages and bread? Next weekend, pancakes.

2) Vacuuming 

Robot vacuums aren’t a new concept, (Roomba released its first model back in 2002,) but they haven’t always done a great job of leaving floors spotless. If anybody is going to change that it’s likely to be Dyson, which finally entered the market last year with it’s 360 Eye.

Unlike it’s competitors, Dyson’s model has an in-built camera capable of capturing 360-degree views at 30 frames per second – meaning it’ll spend a lot more time picking up dirt than it will bumping into the furniture. The high-suction robovac is easy to schedule and order about thanks to its dedicated Android and iOS apps, and, best of all, once the floor is clean it can get a party started (shoutout to DJ Roomba).

3) Doing laundry

If there’s one chore that we really hate then it’s laundry. Our dirty clothes seem to pile up for weeks before they’re crammed into the machine, after which we still need to be around to remove them, hang them to dry, unhang them, iron them, and then hang them up again somewhere else. *Sigh* If only there was a fully-functional laundrybot to lighten our load.

Well we’re afraid we’ve got some bad news, because there isn’t. Fresh from making breakfast earlier, James (AKA a programmable PR2 robot) will have a good go – it can load the machine, close the door and even fold clothes in a tidy pile. For the moment, though, it’s still incapable of adding soap and unloading the laundry from a washer or dryer. At least it pretends to be incapable. Hmmm.

4) Washing dishes

Like laundry, if you don’t stay on top of your dirty dishes then the task becomes increasingly arduous over time. So, if loading and unloading the dishwasher sounds too much like hard work at the weekend then you might want to consider fitting a giant robotic arm to do it for you.

Kitchen Assist Robots have been in development in Japan for years, but are sadly still some way off being ready. As you can see from Panasonic’s attempt below, the technology is pretty clever – it’s able to recognise different tableware, handle it with care and load up the dishwasher without assistance. But for now at least, we’re probably better off with a scourer and sink full of hot water.

5) Gardening

It’s not just indoor chores that robots can help us with, they can also tidy up the garden. Robomow is basically a Roomba for your lawn, scheduled and controlled via smartphone apps so you barely need to lift a finger. The company launched its first robotic mower back in 1997, but it’s come along way since then – now with a fleet of 11 of various different shapes and sizes.

Once the lawn is looking neat and tidy, you can also get Windoro to clean your windows.

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