Dyson reveals plans for robots that perform household chores

midian182

Posts: 8,030   +89
Staff member
Something to look forward to: Dyson might be best known for its premium vacuum cleaners, but it has bigger plans for its products of the future: robots that can perform household chores. The company has published photos and a video of the secret robot prototypes it has been quietly developing, and they definitely look interesting.

Dyson unveiled the robots at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Philadelphia this week. They include a claw picking up plates, which is presumably doing the dishes—something most people would appreciate. There's also an arm with a vacuum attachment cleaning the furniture and what looks somewhat concerningly like a Terminator-style hand picking up a teddy bear.

The company says it aims to develop "an autonomous device capable of household chores and other tasks." The Guardian writes that Dyson is placing a "big bet" on producing these robots by 2030.

Dyson's plans include building the UK's largest robotics research center at its Hullavington Airfield site. The company had planned to use the location to develop an electric car but abandoned the idea in 2019 because of concerns over profitability.

Dyson announced during the robotics event that half of the 2,000 people who joined the firm this year are engineers. It is currently recruiting 250 more robotics engineers and plans to add another 700 people from fields such as computer vision, machine learning, sensors, and mechatronics over the next five years, part of a £2.75 billion (around $3.45 billion) investment plan, £600 million (around $750 million) of which will be spent this year.

Dyson made headlines back in March after it unveiled noise-canceling headphones that wrap around a wearer's head and filter the air they're breathing.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 8,936   +7,903
I've got a couple of their products and they work very well. The only issue is price point. They are very expensive and when you look at the simplicity of some of their devices, they are simply over priced. I'm sure they will claim the R&D is the reason, but regardless, when you price goods too high the consumer doesn't give a flip and won't spend the money.
 

eforce

Posts: 1,013   +1,460
I've got a couple of their products and they work very well. The only issue is price point. They are very expensive and when you look at the simplicity of some of their devices, they are simply over priced. I'm sure they will claim the R&D is the reason, but regardless, when you price goods too high the consumer doesn't give a flip and won't spend the money.

Still cheaper than a wife.
 
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Dd663

Where's the dislike button for comments?

Anyway, I have my doubts about a robot being able to successfully do dishes. There's just way too many variables involved.
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,140   +1,770
Where's the dislike button for comments?

Anyway, I have my doubts about a robot being able to successfully do dishes. There's just way too many variables involved.
Robot just needs to put all dishes in the dishwasher and press the button. How difficult is that?
 
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Dd663

Robot just needs to put all dishes in the dishwasher and press the button. How difficult is that?
Extraordinarily difficult.

The location of the dishwasher in relation to the sink varies. The size and shape of dishwashers vary. The size and shape of dishes vary. Many are fragile and have to be handled carefully. The dishes have to be arranged within the dishwasher such that all surfaces are exposed to be cleaned. Certain things can only go on the top rack. Some dishes shouldn't go in the dishwasher at all. Dishes are often kept to the side of the sink and not just in the sink. Silverware needs to be properly identified and put in the silverware holder. The dishwashing detergent needs to be applied properly.

I can assure you, these things are well beyond the capabilities of any modern robot and will continue to be for many, many years, if not indefinitely.

It might be possible to get a dishwashing robot working in one specific kitchen designed around it, with a specific set of dishes it works with. But having one robot designed to work in anyone's kitchen, with anyone's dishes? Not going to happen. Fully autonomous vehicles is an easier problem to solve.