There's not much to this
USA Today article, but it notes that perhaps in 2010 you might get a
Morning After Bot that will clean your house after a party. It appears
that the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab at Stanford University is
working on a robot that can take a picture of your room and then after a
party try to put back the room by recreating the look of the original
picture. The robot would go around the room picking up bottles and
whatnot and compare the pictures it takes to see if the room's back to
pristine shape. It looks like total vaporware since I couldn't find
more on this topic than repeats of the original article but if it's
truly in the works, the robot sounds pretty cool! I could use one at my
house if only I could find a picture from decades before my house got
With so little information on this robot I'm not sure if the morning
after bot is really to make want to
protest RU-386 abortion pills or to make you break out in the most
popular song from the The
Poseidon Adventure, "There's got to be a morning after!"
A couple duplicate articles...
I see the quote is from "Sebastian Thrun". He headed Stanford's DARPA
Challenge entry and I suppose this "Morning After 'Bot" (sounds like
it was developed by college students) uses the new
vision algorithm mentioned recently.
I've thought some about a robot that "straightens things up". It would
be a great application. Things belong in particular places and when
something is "out of place" the robot simply needs to recognize this
and learn where to put it... non-trivial to say the least however it
could be reinforced through training. That is... when master <Mwa-
ha...> comes home the unfamiliar "something" that was "out of place"
gets pointed out. At which point master could train the robot where
said item should be located. Thereafter whenever the robot ran into
familiar items (glasses, keys, wallets...) it would know where to put
it. I can see where this might cause great confusion. :-/ It also
seems a more reasonable goal would be general daily maintenance rather
then after party massive cleanup.
I've been telling my wife for years that a killer app for small,
autonomous mobile robots would be TidyBots. What I was thinking of was
not so much tidying up around the house but picking up trash outdoors.
There's always lots of trash lying around sidewalks and the shoulders of
highways. A fair amount money seems to be expended on paying humans to
walk around picking up trash by hand. So why not design a TidyBot that
could autonomously wander the shoulders of the highway picking up trash
and storing it in an internal trash bag that could periodically be
emptied? Some types of trash would be hard to distinguish from the
natural environment but many types of common trash would be easy.
Artificial shapes like
bottles and cans would be relatively easy to pick out.
Another variation on that idea might be a Roomba on a giant scale. Here in
the Deep Ellum area of downtown Dallas, there are strange little
vehicles that look sort of like riding lawn mowers. They have human
drivers and each one has a huge vacuum with a hose about 10" in diameter
that comes out the back, loops over the top, and sticks out in front
like some sort of Dr. Seuss creation (they look kinda like
this). These little riding vacuum cleaners drive up and down the
streets some mornings sucking up all the beer bottles in front of the
dance clubs. I wonder how hard it would be to automate one of them?
Sounds a bit like something that lives in a uterus. Heh.
Cluttered, unstructured environments are hard.
At best, by 2010, a bot could possibly put everything on the floor into
a single bin, probably with breaking things. Let me put a caveat, that
this is what a consumer priced bot will do.
An advanced humanoid should be able to do your dishes by then.