Making Room for Consumer Robots

Consumer robots include a variety of products ranging from toys to household electronics. While adult robots and toy animals are designed to entertain, household robots aim to make our lives easier by automating chores. Just think, iRobots to keep floors clean, Moley to cook your meals, a Hatchimal to play with your kids and the ever-so-useful wearable device of choice to control them all.

With everything linked to the cloud, the Internet of Things (IoT) is not only changing industrial factory floors, it’s also going to change every space that we walk into. For example:

  • The Henna hotel in Japan is proof that indeed, robots can check you in first and then droids will carry luggage up to your room.
  • Pepper” is already helping out with shopper navigation and taking selfies in two Bay area malls. Personal shopper robots will eventually replace some of those price scanning kiosks as well as human mystery shoppers.
  • You or your child will never be alone again. The average cost of a bedroom robot is already under $100.

What does this mean?

  • More than the “right ad” at the “right time” to the “right target” and the “personalization” of every digital interaction, things will get just a teeny bit creepier.
  • More data. Increased fragmentation. More marketing dollars. A whole lot of user-centered design work around physical products. Not just Digital anymore.
  • Human-computer interaction designers have one gigantic and very interesting mission.
  • Product managers will still need ensure these robots are addressing real needs. Plenty of lean experimentation and product-fit tests to come.

Definitely not all scary. After all, what good is a consumer robot if it’s not useful and friendly?

As human beings, we have enjoyed unprecedented connectivity to global communities and knowledge sharing through the internet. The consumer generation of robots will not be siloed off islands of capabilities. While we’re still learning what global connectivity actually means in terms of social responsibility and marketers are still trying master predictive advertising through DMP and other adtech investments, robots will be learning from us as well as each other. It’s kinda already in their DNA.

So, how soon will my consumer robots meet and brainstorm on my next vacation for me? They can map out my entire itinerary, pack up the appropriate shoes, order a driver-less car they trust, and make sure everything continues to run smoothly at home.

Anyways, just some thoughts as we embrace 2017. Global household robot sales are forecasted to reach $33 billion by 2025. You can visit a directory of consumer robots from A-Z here and browse through over 100 research reports here.

If you are a robot enthusiast and mechanical engineer, why not bring your ideas to life? We’re offering free metal prototyping for robotics innovators. Reach out to us at or send us a note.

Credit: This article was first published on LinkedIn.