Rise of the Robots: How Artificial Intelligence Is Making Your Home Smarter

The robots are coming! The robots are coming! Actually, they are already here. Both artificial intelligence, or AI, and industrial robots started as a field in the ‘50s. Now AI powers everything from chatbots to self-driving cars to virtual assistants — and AI and robot technology is revolutionizing our homes.

“AI is also fundamental to the functioning of smart home devices, from smart thermostats that learn your schedule and adjust temperatures accordingly to smart refrigerators that monitor food levels and suggest recipes based on what's available,” says Nick Lines, director of Internal Doors. “Home security systems also utilize AI for facial recognition or abnormal activity detection, offering enhanced safety measures.” 

Such devices use AI algorithms to understand their environment. It facilitates their ability to learn from user behavior and preferences, adapt to changes and provide personalized experiences, according to Paulo Filho of Celestial Cleaning Service.

“We have one client who has managed to connect all of their appliances, electronics and electricity to their Google home device,” he says, “Now the alarm rings at 5 a.m., his coffee is made at 5:15 a.m., his lights turn off automatically when he leaves at 6 a.m. Not only that but his dishwasher automatically runs a cycle everyday at 8 p.m.”

 robot floor cleaner

Robots can clean your hardwood floors.

Robots Can Clean and Do Yard Maintenance

Do you hate household chores? Just get a robot for that job. Yes, that’s right, there are robotic lawn mowers, which can trim your grass autonomously; robotic window cleaners, which can stick to your window and clean it automatically; and, even, a toilet cleaning robot to spruce up your bathroom.

Before you dismiss your cleaning crew though, keep in mind that the technology does have its limits, including:

Navigational Issues: Some robots still have trouble in complex environments and get stuck under furniture, says Kat Campbell, data scientist at BowTied

To prevent the device from getting stuck, owners can use boundary markers or virtual walls to create no-go zones, according to Neil Dempsey, CEO of Four19Properties, “These can be placed to restrict access to areas where the device may have difficulty navigating. Owners can also make adjustments to the environment to optimize the cleaning experience, including organizing cables and cords, keeping the floor clear of small objects and ensuring there are no loose rugs or carpets."

Limited Cleaning Capacity: Most of these robots are less powerful than traditional vacuum cleaners, and may not be as effective in cleaning deep carpets or larger debris, according to Campbell.

Requires Supervision: Humans are still needed to empty dustbins and maintain brushes and filters. Some robotic tools need oversight.

Future technology may solve some of these glitches. “We may start to see more comprehensive home-cleaning robots that can do multiple tasks — from cleaning floors and windows to doing dishes and folding laundry,” says Campbell. “There are already prototypes and early versions of these, such as the Aeolus robot, which can recognize thousands of items and is dexterous enough to pick them up, potentially helping with tidying up and other household tasks.”

smart devices tracked by tablet

A tablet can control all your smart devices.

AI Integrations Make Home Appliances Perform Better

Already AI is making a big difference in home appliances, allowing items like refrigerators to track what food is inside along with their expiration dates — making inventory management easy, especially since some devices can recommend recipes based on the ingredients you have. AI can also predict when an appliance may need maintenance.

AI also promotes energy efficiency because it analyzes your usage patterns to optimize energy consumption. For example, smart thermostats will adjust the temperature based on your schedule. “Not only can you monitor food as it cooks without having to actually walk up to the oven (this is done via the internal cameras with a stream straight to your device of choice), but also the AI capability allows for recommendations from the oven on how best to cook a certain dish based on efficiency and time/temperature requirements,” says Ashley Woodyatt, interior designer and founder of Woodyatt Curtains.

lawn mower robot

A robot lawn mower can do the work while you relax.

Smart Speakers and Virtual Assistants Make Life Easier

One of the most common uses of AI in the home is through smart speakers and virtual assistants, such as Amazon's Alexa, Google Home, or Apple's Siri, according to Lines. “These devices use AI to understand spoken language, answer queries, control smart home devices, provide news updates, and more.”

robot window cleaner

A robot can make your windows sparkle.

How You Can Navigate Security Concerns 

AI makes life more convenient by automating everyday tasks and personalizing experiences while increasing energy efficiency and improving home security. Despite its benefits, privacy concerns exist since AI-powered devices need access to personal data to function effectively. “They can also be susceptible to hacking, compromising a user's security,” adds Lines. “There's the potential for over-reliance on AI, which could lead to a loss of basic skills if tasks are overly automated.”

While security issues is the biggest problem with AI and robot devices, Campbell offers several suggestions to mitigate harm:

  • Use strong unique passwords for each of your smart appliances.

  • Regularly updates your devices with the latest software or firmware, as these often include security patches.

  • Consider setting up a separate Wi-Fi network for smart appliances to isolate them from your main devices like laptops and smartphones.

  • Purchase only from reputable manufacturers that prioritize security and offer regular updates.

  • Disable unnecessary features to reduce potential vulnerabilities.

  • Review all privacy policies of the devices and platforms you use. Understand what personal data is shared.

roomba

You can set navigation terms so your cleaning robots move through your home more easily.

“As AI becomes more advanced, we may also see the emergence of new applications for AI in the home, including advanced health monitoring systems and more sophisticated home automation options,” offers Lines. “Therefore, while there are challenges to navigate, the future of AI in the home looks promising, with great potential for increased convenience, efficiency, and personalization.”

For more on smart homes, check out our blog post.

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