Visualize what your first personal or office service robot will look like. What do you imagine? Depending upon your age, you may think of Rosie Jetson, C-3PO or even Bender. (Greatest TV Robots of All Time.)
Your service robot is coming, but it won't look like any of the robots in the image above. Instead, it will probably look like an iPad on a stick or an iPhone in a tiny tractor. (See DoubleRobotics and Romotive.) Products that look like this will be on the market by the end of the year. And, they will be cheap. The Romotive product is just $150. (Romo store)
A major revolution is happening in the robotics market and it is driven by the smartphone. When you grab your phone to make a call, you may not think about the amazing array of sensors, processing power and memory in that device. Due to high volume smartphone manufacturing, components that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars just a few years ago are now just a few dollars or less. Look at the list in the graphic below:
The amazing thing is that your smartphone contains enough technology to be the central nervous system for a robot. Your smartphone can see, hear, feel and communicate. It has enough processing power to drive the wheels and, eventually, other appendages. Soon, they will fly.
Read the rest of this entry »