Shoveling Snow and 5 Other Things Robots Can Do for You


Robots have both fascinated and frightened us since inventor George Devol created the first artificial agent capable of automatic mechanical action in 1954. (In other words, a robotic arm.) Since then, subcultures have emerged that simultaneously revere and revile robots, resulting in countless books, movies, TV shows, and more, that focus on non-sentient machines. Because love them or loathe them, robots are here to stay. In fact, the presence of robots will continue to permeate our culture indefinitely (until their eventual takeover), and if you can't beat 'em (your resistance is futile, actually), join 'em.

As such, here are a few reasons to embrace the benefits that our future overlords provide us while we still can.

1. Help With Yard Work

It's one thing to rake the yard when leaves start to fall — it can even be enjoyable if you're the kind of person who can create fun out of almost anything — but nobody looks forward to the backbreaking work of shoveling snow. For me, it's near the top of the list of things I hate most, right up there with those spider-cricket hybrid insects.

So if you despise shoveling snow as much as I do, the Kobi Company has designed something with you in mind. Its eponymous robot, Kobi, will cut grass, collect leaves and, yes, make all that white stuff disappear. Much like a vacuum, Kobi comes with attachments to tackle each task, which are accomplished without human interference by first wheeling the robot around your yard to establish perimeters around obstacles like trees and bushes. Once set, Kobi gets to work clearing your yard and sidewalks of all natural debris while you sit inside celebrating your discovery of a whole new level of laziness.

2. Provide Companionship

Feeling lonely? Trade in all that nonsense human interaction for artificial companionship.

Humanoid robot Pepper, from Japanese telecommunications company Softbank, is programmed to communicate with users, follow voice commands, and read human emotions and react accordingly. Which basically means that five years from now it's totally going to bring up the past when you two get into an argument. Pepper costs about $1,650 — slightly less than one month of supporting your current live-in boyfriend or girlfriend.

If the lifelike Pepper freaks you out, try MJI Robotics' MJI (More Joy Innovation) Communication Robot, an egg-shaped tabletop bot that features a five-inch display screen with emotive eyes that allows tech-impaired people to access photos, weather, news, and other information with voice activation.

3. Tackle the Household Chores

Vacuuming robot Roomba has been around for years, and it perhaps single-handedly paved the way for other household bots to help with your chores.

Scooba takes the original Roomba concept one step further by vacuuming and washing floors, while Looj handles another dreaded task of most homeowners: cleaning the gutters.

4. Annoy You Until You Get Out of Bed

Are you often late for work because you hit the snooze button on your alarm 19 times? Nanda Clocky will have you rising and shining in no time. It's sole purpose is to get you out of bed by giving you one chance to snooze before it rolls away, forcing you to chase it down to shut it up. Obvi, hilarity will ensue at your house at 6 a.m.

5. Clean Up After Your Pets

I don't like cats for several reasons, which are: they're not dogs; they poop inside; and they're generally just plain evil. But if you have a soft spot in your heart for felines, the Litter-Robot can help you keep your home from smelling like a porta potty by sifting through the litter to removes clumps and storing them in a bag that will stifle the scent.

6. Satiate Your Weird Predilection For Destruction

Because we can't live in harmony with anything, we've already turned robots violent — a character trait that will probably make us regret some of our decisions in the near future. Robot combat is totally a thing, the MegaBots website declares the hobby "The Future of Sports," and it seems best suited to those who like to instigate and witness destruction. It's certainly not the best part of our own humanity, but it exists nonetheless. Ya know, until they turn on us.

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