Dyson said today that it expects to begin selling robots that can do home tasks. Sweep manufacturer Shark is ramping up its employment efforts in preparation for the development of consumer robots that do more than just vacuum up dust. It is the company’s goal to have these robots in people’s homes within ten years of conception.
Robot vacuums with a puck-like design from Dyson have been around for over a decade, collecting dirt and dust as they go. Dyson, on the other hand, has been working on autonomous robots with grabbing hands for the last ten years.
Prototypes of dyson robots were seen in a movie completing household chores, such as stacking plates and pouring bleach on a counter top.
The “brain” of the robots is the focus of Dyson’s “perception lab” at an air hangar at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire, England. The lab also focuses on vision systems that enable robots to walk about without smashing into objects using cameras, sensors, and thermal imaging. Dyson has already created vision-based mapping algorithms and a 360-degree camera for its robotic vacuums, so this is a familiar territory for the company.
Research is also being done to make the robots safe for use in the house, including making them hardy enough to survive impact.
Additional research and development on robots will be conducted in London and Singapore by Dyson’s new Dyson Robotics Lab at Imperial College in London.
An enormous effort to recruit new employees
There’s still a long way to go for Dyson, though. Dyson estimates that it is barely halfway through its largest-ever recruiting drive for engineers, with 2,000 new hires, helped by whom are engineers, scientists, or developers. For the last six months, Dyson has been renovating the aircraft hangar at Hullavington and is currently looking for 250 robotics engineers with knowledge of computer vision, machine learning, sensors, and mechatronics.
Dyson aims to hire 700 robotics experts in the next five years. The robot’s brain will be the primary focus of their efforts. “The UK’s biggest, most sophisticated robotics centre” is the objective of Dyson’s investment of £2.75 billion (approximately $3.45 billion) in Hullavington. In 2022, Dyson plans to invest £600 million (approximately $753 million).
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It’s safe to say that Dyson isn’t the first to make excellent use of a robotic hand. In addition, this isn’t the first firm to bring a humanoid-looking robot into the house.
The open-source humanoid Reachy robot, manufactured by Pollen Robotics in France, features 7 degrees of freedom, a movable base, bending arms, and dependable clamps. It’s said to be able to lift 1.1 lbs. Most of Pollen Robotic’s demo shows the robot as an entertainment element, with the ability to play games and greet visitors, among other things.
Reachy is obviously aimed at a niche market, with a starting price of €8,990 (about $9,603) for only one arm and a starting price of €32,990 (roughly $35,241) for the whole robot and movable base.
A bipedal, Power Ranger-looking Walker X robot is also being developed by UBTech, which can do jobs including providing beverages and food, playing video games, and ascending stairs.
Amazon Astro is one of the most well-known companies doing this. An invitation-only version of the robot is presently on sale for $1,000 and focuses on monitoring the house. A receptacle where you may place items to be delivered to someone in the house, as well as virtual, expressive eyes, are included. As for Tesla’s humanoid robot prototype, CEO Elon Musk believes it will be shown off next year.
Perhaps most fascinating of all is the fact that Dyson has spent decades working in adjacent sectors and has shown a readiness to open its wallet and invest in people. Dyson seems to be in a strong position to continue the effort it began a decade ago because of its extensive history of bringing items into people’s homes.
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