How smart home robots can shape the human-machine interaction

Rouzet Agaiby, Senior Business Development Engineer

January 22, 2018

The hype around robots and the roles they will play in our lives is steadily growing. These roles can vary from being a digital personal assistant to doing our washing and cleaning. 

Smart home robots can shape the human-machine interactionFor robots to seamlessly fit into our lives they need to not only be able to work without failure (requiring little maintenance), but also look more human and friendly. As they have to be constantly connected to the devices they are controlling, they also need to be secure and tamper proof.  

Robots are also benefitting from the rise in artificial intelligence (AI) that helps to humanise the interaction between man and machine. If robots are to be adopted in the home or office, they need to be able to communicate well either via voice, display or both. They also have to be able to authenticate the user quickly and easily and this entails having a form of biometric recognition capability.

Robot design

Robots were again in the spotlight at CES this year. Many companies demonstrated their innovations including big players like LG, Sony and Honda as well as start-ups like Blue Frog, Kuri and Aeolus bot. What was obvious was that the design of these robots varies greatly in terms of shape and size. Some look more like animals or pets while others have more human features.

Thanks to innovations in flexible displays and sensors that can be curved around surfaces, it will be possible to give smart home robots an even greater appeal. Imagine a conical all-display robot that is able to relay information from all angles without having to rotate. A camera could be installed at the top of the display and the robot can be fitted with a fingerprint sensor and voice recognition for multimodal authentication. Such a robot can be used in home security, for example.

Recently FlexEnable collaborated with Japanese company, Toppan Printing, by providing a 12.1” conformable organic LCD (OLCD) display as ‘the face’ to their robot demo. The robot was placed in a gallery and its function was to move around and broadcast live video from the exhibition to an audience at another location, so that they could experience the exhibition as if they were there in person. The purpose of the display was to make the people at the gallery, who came in touch with the robot, more comfortable with its presence. While Toppan used the robot for a gallery experience, the same concept can also be applied in business teleconferences, education and training environment as well as to keep in touch with family and friends living abroad. 

With the design freedom that flexible displays offer, designers can use them in robots in versatile ways. FlexEnable’s high-performance OTFT technology for displays and sensors can be easily integrated into devices with different shapes and sizes without the design constraints associated with rigid glass-based technologies. Additionally it is the lowest cost flexible technology which translates into cost effective devices that can lower the barriers to entry.

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