From Star Wars‘ R2-D2 to The Terminator to WALL-E, robots have pervaded popular culture and ignited our imaginations. But today, machines that can do our bidding have moved from science fiction to real life.
Think hands-free vacuum cleaners or iPhone’s Siri or or robotic arms performing surgery. At the Innorobo conference in Lyon, France, the latest in service robot technology was on display.
“These are robots that can help us with our everyday tasks, which I guess is always the endgame for robots, wasn’t it? To do the jobs that we didn’t want to do,” says Jane Wakefield, BBC technology reporter.
Wakefield covered Innorobo and tells weekends on All Things Considered host Don Gonyea that while many of the innovations at the conference are available now, they are largely used by industry or research institutes.
“A lot of the robots on show were so expensive, they’ll be a few years away before we see them in our actual homes,” she says. Once they arrive, however, here’s what you might see.