Helper Robots We Desperately Need: the HRP-2 Dishbot

Yes, we've lived in the era of the dishwasher for some time. But for the toughest, greasiest pans, call in the Dishbot

For now, mechanized household servants are pretty much limited to floor-cleaners — though they do hold a special place in our hearts.

But what if a robot, after a long dinner party, could bus the table and head to the sink? Now there’s a relationship we can build on. Japan’s HRP-2 humanoid ‘bot, pictured here, has learned to do just that.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo’s Jouhou System Kougaku Laboratory have used human motion-capture and video game simulations to teach HRP-2 how to handle different types of dishware. They also had to develop waterproof robot gloves.

The researchers are also working with 3-D sensors to help the robots “see” their surroundings so they can move freely.

Along with washing dishes, the HRP-2 also cleans the floor, but with a regular, old-fashioned hose vacuum, as you can see in this adorable montage:

Your New Kitchen Helper

This humanoid robot vacuums, sweeps and washes the dishes.

I hope it gets along with the laundry-folding robot.

IEEE Spectrum