Robotic Home Appliances Are Quietly Taking Over (In a Good Way)
A famous Silicon Valley VC once said, “software is eating the world”. Indeed!
It’s amazing to see how many computers and software applications are getting embedded into so many products and industries to automate and simplify tasks like never before. And most of this is being done under our noses, with little to no fanfare or media attention.
Software intelligence is increasingly impacting our economy at every level, from information processing to electronics and production. The use of on-board software capable of scheduling and doing tasks without human involvement has been introduced to a wide range of home appliances in the past 5-10 years, from automatic vacuum cleaners to robotic pool cleaners, automatic coffee makers, intelligent refrigerators and even bread makers.
Software Enters The Home
On-board software refers to applications capable of taking and automating task instructions for a single device or appliance – such as when to initiate a given process or function. Here are some common home appliances that have been incorporating on-board software recently, and the advantages we get from doing that.
Washers and Dryers
Unlike traditional washers and dryers that require people to keep an ear out for, modern washer-dryer combos are self-directed and fully automated. Intelligent washers have systems that can perform loading, washing and drying without being monitored. They also have delay features that can be used to schedule tasks so that the tasks are completed just in time, when you arrive home from work for example.
The advantage of these appliances is that tasks are performed in your absence without your oversight. There are several intelligent dryers produced by different manufacturers. A good example is the Bosch WKD28350GB automatic washer/dryer. It features washer foam detection, safeguard monitoring, aquatronic washing and begin-wash delay among other properties. The dryer claims to be more energy efficient than non-intelligent versions.
Also known as internet refrigerators, this appliance uses a barcode recognition system (or RFID scanners) that scan and keep records of items being stored in it. Intelligent fridges also keep track of restocking patterns and notifies users whenever there is an item that needs replenishing. Some examples include Samsung’s RH2777AT HomePAD and Zipel e-Diary, LG’s Digital DIOS, GR-D267DTU and ThinQ LFX31995ST.
There are several automated grills and smart concept grills on the market today. These new designs feature software that can access internet databases to identify correct recipes including cooking methods and timing. The grills also have preprogrammed systems that eliminate guesswork and use fine recipes to produce the best meal. For example, the Lynx concept grill allows activation via voice instruction and has many other incredible capabilities.
Robotic Pool Cleaners
Swimming pool owners no longer need to pay pool cleaners or leave their vacuum/filtration systems on all day. Robotic pool cleaners like the Dolphin Nautilus and the Aquabot Pool Rover are designed to effectively clean swimming pool floor, walls and cloves. The chief advantage of having onboard software to run these devices is that cleaning is fully automated, the routes are intelligently controlled so less time is required to clean, and cleaning can be scheduled to happen during specified periods of time to ensure your pool is always clean but not interrupting your fun.
Robotic Vacuum Cleaners (robo-vacs)
These are programmed in-home vacuum cleaners that use a combination of cleaning procedures (UV sterilization, mopping, etc.) plus features such as spinning brushes to clean your floors and carpeted surfaces automatically. They can be set to perform cleaning at given time intervals in the absence of anyone. Robovacs may also incorporate systems like security cameras and intercoms, to serve as watchdog.
iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaner is a good example.
The incorporation of smart applications and on-board software into ordinary home appliances has resulted in more convenience, higher energy efficiency and improved productivity/performance for a wide range of tasks – and we’re just getting started!