While science fiction taught us to think of robots as human-like beings, the ones that actually make it into your home will more likely look like furniture. A team at the EPFL Biorobotics Laboratory in Switzerland is developing multipurpose robotic building blocks, called Roombots, that put your regular furniture to shame.
The robotic furniture can self-assemble into a chair and move across the room with you in it, and reassemble into a table that delivers you a glass of water. The researchers created a video that shows them in action.
Each Roombot module has three motors and "connectors" and "grippers" to attach and detach to other modules or pieces or objects in your apartment. The Roombot is controlled by machine learning algorithms modeled off animals' neural networks for movement, according to a research paper from the EPFL team. The smart machine picks up sensory data from its environment, learns the specific needs of its user, and transforms accordingly.
Eventually, the researchers believe the furniture bots could perform any number of household tasks, like an arm oscillating a fan, or moving objects around. They describe the future applications as "multifunctional and assistive robotic furniture that can interact with users, help them recover from a fall, monitor their health, help them transfer between different positions (laying/sitting/standing), help them manipulate objects.”
Additionally we are anticipating tiny big city apartments that transform themselves from bedroom to kitchen to bathroom to study, depending on your needs.