Commercial Robotics

Forbes Special Report on Luxury Robots

Posted 1 Jul 2005 at 15:10 UTC by steve Share This

What's a luxury robot? According to a new Forbes Special Report by Leah Hoffman, any sort of personal robot bought by the wealthy who usually buy other luxury goods. And the rich it seems, don't want robots per se. They just want machines that get the job done whatever they may be called. The article also notes that as the price of robots comes down, these luxury items will become commodity items. The Forbes Special feature also includes reviews of their top picks for the category of luxury robot. Among the choices: robot pets, vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, and pool cleaners.


Steve Immortalized!, posted 1 Jul 2005 at 15:48 UTC by The Swirling Brain » (Master)

The Forbes article includes this quote by steve! Cool, check it out...

"There just aren't enough people out there who want to own a robot," says Steve Rainwater, chairman of Network Cybernetics and co- founder of the robotics blog robots.net. "They want a vacuum cleaner or a lawn mower or a pool cleaner, something that does something for them. And it has to work."

quotes, posted 1 Jul 2005 at 16:03 UTC by steve » (Master)

As usual with being quoted in the press it doesn't come out quite the way you said it. That quote is from a lengthy discussion of the different views of consumers that American companies have vs. Japanese companies. The point being that American companies are making task-specific robots like vacuums and lawn mowers because they perceive that the public wants solutions to specific short-term problems like high grass or dirty carpet and they want to make a quick buck off of it. The Japanese meanwhile, are making general purpose, humanoid robots because they perceive a long-term, country-wide need for intelligent machines to assist with caring for their aging population (among other long term needs).

So it's not so much that I think people want task-specific robots - I think American robot manufacturers think that. Personally, I fall more in the Japanese mindset and would prefer to see more general purpose robots.

phew, posted 1 Jul 2005 at 16:15 UTC by dogsbody_d » (Master)

Still, name-checked by Forbes Steve....

Your longer analysis makes sense. Surely one of our problems is that whatever the manufacturers want, consumers are expecting their fully-functional robo-butlers.

I agree and..., posted 6 Jul 2005 at 07:08 UTC by Timster » (Master)

I also think the Japanese have got the right idea for robotics in the longer term. Its my thinking that many of the 'American-style' functional robots will get swallowed up by the home automation category. We won't be thinking of our refridgerator as intelligent or robotic but it will be. As that becomes less and less of a specialty factor and a mainstream featureset of refridgerators General Electric will less and less refer to it as robotic in their marketing or sales pitch.

On the other side of the curve Japanese biped or humanoid styled robots that are presently very sophisticated but totally useless for most practical purposes will eventually start to have a few useful/commercial functions and will always be thought of as robots.

In the end it doesn't really matter but I suspect we'll have automated cleaning products, home maintenance systems (climate control, security etc.) automated vehicles... all from the US, and robots from Japan :)

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