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When robots can run your house
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Vacuums, gutter cleaners, interactive security systems and refrigerators: take a look at the technology that can run your house when you're not there. - photo by Corinn Sessions
Technology has taken great leaps and bounds, especially during the past two decades.

While the 2015 that Marty McFly time travels to in "Back to the Future II" didnt happen according to Hollywoods vision, there are still plenty of things to marvel at especially in the technology sector. Take a look at some of the technology that is very much available now or slated to be released soon.

Robo-cleaning duty

The little Roomba vacuum that scoots its way around the floor to suck up all the dropped crumbs, pet hair and unsightly dirt has been around for some time since 2002, to be precise. Fourteen years later, those whirring cleaning discs have improved to know when to charge themselves and sneak under low-profile furniture.

The Roombas younger sibling, the Scooba, will clean a step further by dispensing cleaning solution and scrubbing the floors. Many mundane household chores can be left to small robots, like cleaning out the gutters, thanks to a little contraption called Looj. Robomow will mow your lawn. Droplet will monitor the water needs of the lawn and garden and turn on the hose when needed, all the while keeping tabs on the weather to make sure there is no wasted water.

Is the pool looking a bit green and mossy? There is the Dolphin for that, as well as the Robosnail for the aquarium inside. Science and technologys little brainchild can take the nasty little chore of cleaning up after Fluffy McWhiskers too, with the aptly named Litter Robot, a litter-scooping robot.

Taking care of you

Need to iron a shirt, but dont have time? There is the Dressman for that, even though it does resemble a futuristic mannequin. Unfortunately, this robot didnt gain much of a following because it would seem to be nearly impossible to purchase. It forms and steams the shirt to wrinkle-less perfection.

Robots can also be a little more personal when needed. There is the Wheeme, a massage robot with specialized wheels that will travel across your back to deliver a lovely massage. Sleep through the alarm too often? Nanda Clocky and Nanda Tocky are alarm clocks that gives one chance to snooze before they drive or roll away to hide, making the unfortunate early bird get out of bed to find them and turn them off.

Speaking of personalized robots, there are more intuitive and interactive robots that mimic a real presence, where a person can control the device, speak through it, and interact with people via a Wi-Fi connection, speakers and a webcam. The Double 2 can take care of your telecommuting needs. While guests may not think it much of a dinner party if the host looks like an iPad attached to a broomstick that got stuck on a Roomba, its still a great conversation starter.

Security and service

Jeeves is a room service robot that can navigate elevators on its own. Agent 007 brags to be able to both serve drinks to party guests and deter burglars by shouting Police! Freeze! while calling 911.

Home security systems have become more intuitive in that remote cameras can look like everyday toys, like the Ulo which can interact with you by tracking movements and taking photos, all with huge, expressive eyes. Ulo looks tired when it needs a charge, winks when it takes a photo, and its eyes track movement across the room, all the while streaming to a smartphone and sending email notifications when no one is home.

Kitchen assistant

The kitchen arguably the hub of the house is now getting a technological touch through smart refrigerators that can notify when something is running low, keep a grocery list, provide live pictures of its contents, come equipped with a touch screen that has computing abilities (like keeping a calendar) and even interact with other appliances or computers within the kitchen. So what about something that can truly lug its computer-run, machined weight around? Moley introduced a kitchen robot that will actually cook dinner from start to finish finish being clean up and dish duty all with a pair of robotic arms.

The Moley robotic kitchen is slated for a 2017 release to consumers as a package made up of four units: the arms, an oven, a stove top and a touchscreen. Recipes are loaded into the computer in iTunes-style and are constantly updating. It might seem like a robot would be clumsy and inefficient when doing tactile actions like chopping vegetables or mixing ingredients, but the developers programmed the robotic arms to imitate professional chefs, like Master Chef Tim Anderson, literally by copying their every move when preparing a meal. Because of mapping movements, the robot is able to have the sensitivity, function, articulation, and speed of human hands, according to the company.
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