Mira Robotics has found a niche target market when it pertains to robots. The company said by 2035, one in three Japanese citizens will be elderly, and other parts of the world will also be facing low birthrates and aging populations. With this information, Mira Robotics is honing their interest on creating robots to provide daily help to senior citizens.
“We believe that the demand for household chore assistance among dual-income households and the elderly is rising further,” said Mira Robotics’ CEO, Ken Matsui at an event.
In response, Mira Robotics has recently debuted Ugo, a remote control robot that helps with the dreaded task of laundry. For seniors whose hands are arthritic, this task can be tedious and painful. Now, Ugo the robot can take clothes out of a washing machine, put them in a laundry basket, place them on a drying rack, and finish up by folding each and every piece.
Although the robot does a good job at getting the laundry folded, it is in no means fast. The video below shows the robot using its two arms, elongating itself when needed, and doing its laundry tasks painstakingly slow.
The bot does have an impressive reach and its torso can extend from 3.6 ft. to 5.9 ft. Each arm has the ability to lift approximately 3.3 lb., which is more than the weight of a wet piece of clothing or towel, most likely the heaviest item the bot will have to lift.
The robot consists of three cameras, a microphone, and speaker. It also has WiFi and LT connectivity, according to Evan Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum.
Mira’s ultimate plan is to have individuals rent the robot to live in a house for about $180 to $225 per month, with the expectation that it will be performing household chores for several hours each week. Once a person rents the robot and requests specific tasks, a “professional operator” connects to the robot and has it get to work. Mira says this is a way for individuals to receive help without having someone physically in their house.
Mira is still addressing security and privacy issues, since the robot does come with a camera and microphone with a person on the other end, but it does eliminate a person actually coming inside the house. The robot can also be confined to one specific area so it doesn’t venture anywhere else in the home. Individuals can also monitor everything the robot does through an app, so they don’t even have to be home while the robot cleans.
Mira hopes that at some point the robot will be able to act autonomously and perform tasks without the help of a professional operator. For now, Mira is focused on providing aid to senior citizens or individuals with a disability that prevent them from performing daily chores. Mira plans to start beta testing Ugo in August and hopes to deploy the laundry-folding bot in May of 2020.
Filed Under: Product design, Robotics • robotic grippers • end effectors