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Consumer-grade robots have potential beyond trivial tasks

Consumer-grade robots have much more potential beyond trivial tasks around the home, according to a recent study from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) services at Strategy Analytics.

The study, which investigated the needs, behaviors and expectations of consumers regarding consumer-grade robots, found that a broader range of movement and the addition of features such as arms and hands and modular elements to enhance task flexibility, will allow robots to become true assistants in users' lives.

"Robots that are modular can be equipped with the latest accessories to expand their functionality, increasing their longevity and adaptability," commented Mathew Alton, analyst and report author. "In addition, robots that have the ability to 'learn' unpredictable tasks through artificial intelligence (AI) would also be able to adapt to a user's changing requirements."

Tasks which can be accomplished with arms and hands are more desirable to users because they are usually more time intensive than tasks such as vacuuming and moving, the study found. Broader ranges of movement are idealized because they provide robots with new ways to go about their tasks.

Robots on wheels are perceived to be quick and thus suitable for security and cleaning devices; whereas bipedal robots can traverse objects; and robots that can fly can assist users by providing aerial perspectives, the study found.

In addition, wearable robots would allow consumers to excel at tasks that would be otherwise impossible for them to do such as intense physical labor. They could attach to the user directly, augmenting their ability to do strenuous tasks such as heavy lifting. Also, at times when it is inconvenient or impossible to venture out and retrieve things such as groceries, robots designed for retrieval could be deployed instead.

"A robot that can be physically altered to perform a myriad of different tasks will be easier to sell than one that does only one predictable task," said Chris Schreiner, Director of Syndicated Research, UXIP. "A functioning 'base' robot would encourage an ecosystem of add-ons and accessories, providing a revenue source over time."