Robo-vac and wardroid manufacturer iRobot has debuted a brace of new products today, in a move keenly anticipated among bot-lovers. Sad to say, the robot butler or Heinlein-style* Hired Girl™ mechanical scullery maid has yet to appear. The most interesting of the new iRobot offerings is the ConnectR, which is a refinement on …
Keep your cat company
Forget expensive visits to the boarders! Forget paying off your friends to be house-sitters! Amuse your home-bound pets and monitor your home whilst traveling.
Now iRobot needs to provide cat-toy attachments to the back of this contraption.
I can see it now - "nice haircut! is that a brazilian or a mohawk?"
A floor level robot with a webcam on it. Have they really thought this one through?
I'd like to play with one of those ConnectR jobs. That's about it, though. I can't really imagine any serious practical value. If it had nightvision and some kind of ray-gun (or at least a foam-missile launcher), that might be more appealing. At the very least, I'd want a built in sub-woofer so it could deliver a deep, booming "You have ten seconds to comply..." kind of a voice.
A taser, maybe? I guess I'm coming around to the possibilities...
MacOS Need Not Apply
From iRobot's website: "control the robot from any Windows XP-enabled PC"
No Vista either?
Yeah - I let a 3rd party have control over a camera in my house..
Oh, great. "using its own servers as intermediaries", or, translated, having control over every camera equipped Roomba out there just in case some hacker wants some entertainment.
I like the product although I have found it impossible to get a price for the new (non-cam equipped) one yet, but there is no way I will allow a 3rd party to have control over something in my house. Nice try, though. Let's hope they haven't used the same team to secure those servers as TK Maxx did.
We wouldn't want unattended value surveys (aka 'casing of the joint') to be available for a low fee now, would we?
Nice book reference...
"The Door Into Summer" is one of Heinlein's best. Having a cat named Pete as a leading character is a nice part of it.
As for the robot stuff, no, we do not have anything remotely resembling Hired Girl, but Heinlein was a visionary and had it right with Drafting Dan from the same story; the precursor of today's CAD/CAM software. Not bad for 1956.
Not the only tech prediction he made that came to fruition: in "The Man Who Sold the Moon" he suggested PIR-controlled lighting, as a sideline, not part of the main story. Now it's everywhere. In "Waldo" he proposed a remote manipulator, called the Synchronous Replicating Pantograph, although it's possible they already existed. Also, in "Waldo", or possibly in "Magic, Incorporated" he refers to routing problems with a mobile phone, not far from today's issues with roaming charges.
Does that mean we can look forward to the cool 3D imaging devices from /A Scanner Darkly/?
I'm just off to snort the cocaine I made from sunblock...
... I should want this product is still beyond me, but I like the subwoofer idea (protection-mode). Also, it would be neat if it could scurry away when screamed at, like those things in Star Wars (I'm at home-mode). Nice possibilities. Nevertheless, the soulless automatons will never provide the same satisfaction as actually ordering around a low-paid human cleaning up your mess.
Could't they have made a slicker version of THIS?
With one of these the kids might be able to remotely help Granny sort out her gadget problems: