Domestic Robotics

  • Erwin Prassler
  • Mario E. Munich
  • Paolo Pirjanian
  • Kazuhiro Kosuge

Abstract

When the first edition of this book was published domestic robots were spoken of as a dream that was slowly becoming reality. At that time, in 2008, we looked back on more than twenty years of research and development in domestic robotics, especially in cleaning robotics. Although everybody expected cleaning to be the killer app for domestic robotics in the first half of these twenty years nothing big really happened. About ten years before the first edition of this book appeared, all of a sudden things started moving. Several small, but also some larger enterprises announced that they would soon launch domestic cleaning robots. The robotics community was anxiously awaiting these first cleaning robots and so were consumers. The big burst, however, was yet to come. The price tag of those cleaning robots was far beyond what people were willing to pay for a vacuum cleaner. It took another four years until, in 2002, a small and inexpensive device, which was not even called a cleaning robot, brought the first breakthrough: Roomba. Sales of the Roomba quickly passed the first million robots and increased rapidly. While for the first years after Roomba’s release, the big players remained on the sidelines, possibly to revise their own designs and, in particular their business models and price tags, some other small players followed quickly and came out with their own products. We reported about theses devices and their creators in the first edition. Since then the momentum in the field of domestics robotics has steadily increased. Nowadays most big appliance manufacturers have domestic cleaning robots in their portfolio. We are not only seeing more and more domestic cleaning robots and lawn mowers on the market, but we are also seeing new types of domestic robots, window cleaners, plant watering robots, tele-presence robots, domestic surveillance robots, and robotic sports devices. Some of these new types of domestic robots are still prototypes or concept studies. Others have already crossed the threshold to becoming commercial products.

For the second edition of this chapter, we have decided to not only enumerate the devices that have emerged and survived in the past five years, but also to take a look back at how it all began, contrasting this retrospection with the burst of progress in the past five years in domestic cleaning robotics. We will not describe and discuss in detail every single cleaning robot that has seen the light of the day, but select those that are representative for the evolution of the technology as well as the market. We will also reserve some space for new types of mobile domestic robots, which will be the success stories or failures for the next edition of this chapter. Further we will look into nonmobile domestic robots, also called smart appliances, and examine their fate. Last but not least, we will look at the recent developments in the area of intelligent homes that surround and, at times, also control the mobile domestic robots and smart appliances described in the preceding sections.

2-D

two-dimensional

2.5-D

two-and-a-half-dimensional

3-D

three-dimensional

AIST

Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology

B2B

business to business

BOM

bill of material

CES

Consumer Electronics Show

CMOS

complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor

CPU

central processing unit

cv-SLAM

ceiling vision SLAM

EKF

extended Kalman filter

FDA

US Food and Drug Association

GPS

global positioning system

HCI

human–computer interaction

HD

high definition

IFA

Internationale Funk Ausstellung

IMU

inertial measurement unit

IPA

Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation

IPR

intellectual property right

IR

infrared

LED

light-emitting diode

PSD

position-sensitive-device

RAM

random access memory

RFID

radio frequency identification

RMS

root mean square

RP-VITA

remote presence virtual + independent telemedicine assistant

RPS

room positioning system

SELF

sensorized environment for life

SLAM

simultaneous localization and mapping

TOF

time-of-flight

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erwin Prassler
    • 1
  • Mario E. Munich
    • 2
  • Paolo Pirjanian
    • 3
  • Kazuhiro Kosuge
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Computer SciencesBonn-Rhein-Sieg Univ. of Applied SciencesSankt AugustinGermany
  2. 2.iRobot Corp.PasadenaUSA
  3. 3.iRobot Corp.BedfordUSA
  4. 4.System Robotics LaboratoryTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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