Automated Housework ~ This Could Be The Wave Of The Future
A "SmartBed" That Makes Itself
The iRobot Roomba Vacuum
Is This Helpful Or The Ultimate In Laziness?
In the summer of 2012, I was surfing the Internet and came across an ad for a unique new kind of bed. It's made by a furniture company called OHEA in Spain. This bed makes itself right when a person gets up out of it. I remembered thinking, NICE... but then I thought "how lazy could a person possibly be to feel like they need a bed that makes itself right after they get up in the morning"?
I was thinking maybe I might want one of these beds. Then I thought about things that are already automated like the iRobot Roomba vacuum, which automatically moves all over your house vacuuming for you. So, how great would a bed like this be as an extra time and energy saver?
Imagine this scenario on a normal weekday. Get up out of bed, the bed makes itself.
If your coffeemaker was already set to be brewed at a certain time, you could just go downstairs (in my case I have to go downstairs) and enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee.
You enjoy some breakfast,and then - what if there was a robot that could do your dishes for you? Hmmm. Food for thought. Then you go to take your shower while Roomba cleans every floor in the house for you. Sound like a lazy persons dream? It might be a reality before we know it!
How The Self Making Bed Works ~
This bed, made by a company called OHEA, is touted as the bed of the future. It works on the idea that making a bed is really a simple thing. It is basically straightening the sheets after the sleeping person gets up out of it. There are pillows and sheets especially made to go on this bed, so no more shopping for bargain sheets to save a few bucks.
If the idea of only a sheet on a bed to cover up with makes you feel like you would freeze, you're not alone. That was my first thought as well. Supposedly, these are specially designed sheets with a unique design similar to that of a duvet cover. If the weather is cold or you simply need more than just a light sheet to cover up with at night, you can slip additional bedding into this special sheet to make it warmer. Thank goodness for the extra thought that was put into this. The idea of covering up when I'm sleeping with only a sheet would have been a deal breaker for me.
There is a special mechanism in the headboard of this bed that is attached to the specially made pillows. When it's time for the bed to make itself, the pillows are lifted by this mechanism. The sheet itself has a cord that runs through the sides of it and is attached to the foot of this bed with Velcro
The entire process of this bed making itself begins with a special sensor to sense weight on the bed. Once a person gets up, the bed senses that the weight is gone and begins the bed making process about three seconds later. The special device in the headboard lifts the pillows up. The sheets then are straightened when two special sideboards open on the bed and a set of robotic arms then appear to pull the bed sheets towards the head of the bed.
Once the sheet is straightened and pulled entirely up to the headboard end of the bed, the pillows are set back down and the bed is completely made. The side robotic arms go back to their retracted position and the sideboards close back up again. I don't know about you, but this all sounded pretty crazy to me when I first heard about it.
These automatic self making beds are not available for sale right now, but people can inquire about them at the OHEA company's website.
A Robot Graduation Ceremony From May Of 2010
Now That The Bed Is Made, Let's Do The Dishes, Shall We?
Once your bed has automatically made itself and you've gone downstairs to enjoy that cup of coffee and breakfast, it is probably time for the dishes to be done. A company known as Willow Garage in Menlo Park, California has come up with a unique concept robot that may one day be able to help people with those simple household chores, like washing dishes.
Unfortunately, the reality of these robots being available for purchase and for home use could be as much as ten years away, or maybe sooner. We'll have to wait and see. In the summer of 2010, a special graduation ceremony was held for the first batch of these special robots. Watch the video to the right of this. They even featured the song "Mr. Roboto" for their graduation song. How fitting was that?
After their graduation, the robots were then divided up and sent to different learning institutions to be used and studied. Results of these studies were to be shared with the company that created the robots. From there, it is hoped that one day robots will be able to be produced and sold to homes and other places where they might be able to help people with simple chores in everyday life situations.
The schools that received these robots were the University of Freiburg in Germany, Stanford University in California and UC Berkeley, also in California. Some were also sent to the University of Tokyo. The robots are known as PR2 robots. The company simply wanted to get the robots out of the factory setting and into some real life situations so they could be evaluated and improved when and if that was necessary.
The hope one day is that these special PR2 robots can help people who need a little extra help like senior citizens who need help lifting things or to help in other real life easy chore situations like washing dishes and folding laundry. Sign me up! Hey, I'm almost a senior citizen! OK, so I think those who really NEED something like these robots should get first crack at using them. I can wait. I think. Not that I'm lazy or anything.
Every robot comes with specialized computer software installed. So, I imagine there will be bugs that will have to be worked out before they are even made available to those who want to be casual robot users. Or lazy people. Again, not me (laughing!)
The robots were to be used at these Universities for two years, and then the Universities were supposed to share results of using them and comments about how they can be improved or changed. The company that created them hopes to one day make these helpful robots available to a mass audience, but for now, very few are out there being used for these purposes.
Now I am imaging lines at stores in the middle of the night on Thanksgiving night before Black Friday, of people waiting to get their hands on the first of these robots to come out. People camping out and maybe even fighting over them. Yeah, there's that ole Christmas spirit!
Then again, maybe they won't be available quite that easily. The company has said that making money off of the robots isn't their real focus right now... the idea is to see growth of people wanting these in the long term.
I don't know about you, but when I was researching for this, I kept thinking about a cartoon I watched as a child called "The Jetson's." They had a robot similar to these PR2 robots, her name was "Rosie." Just think, in the future we all may be able to have our own version of "Rosie the Robot" in our homes to help us with the housework.