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A Vacuum With An Arm - Engineers Create Heinlein's Hired Girl Robot

KIMLAB has implemented a mobile manipulator based on a vacuum robot and an add-on mechanism by employing our PAPRAS (Plug-And-Play Robotic Arm System)

In this paper, we present a modular add-on system that can be seamlessly integrated with an off-the-shelf vacuum robot to expand its capabilities beyond vacuuming. Employing the add-on system enables seamless integration of a manipulator, which can be effortlessly attached and detached with minimal alterations to the vacuum robot, without compromising its original functionality. Furthermore, the add-on system allows for the incorporation of a potent manipulator capable of performing household tasks, demonstrating its potential for practical applications.

The system augments the vacuum robot's capability by adding a 6-DOF manipulator, an RGB-D camera for superior perception, and a LiDAR sensor for enhanced navigation. This allows users to upgrade their existing vacuum robots, enabling them to handle a more extensive array of household tasks. We showcase the system's ability to navigate to specific locations on a map, open doors, grasp objects, and place them in designated locations through a basic demonstration, highlighting its improved perception and manipulation abilities. Our approach presents a practical solution for homeowners seeking an affordable and versatile household cleaning robot with extended functionality.

Robert Heinlein's 1956 novel The Door Into Summer helped us all to imagine an intelligent robotic vacuum that could also pick things up:

What Hired Girl would do (the first model, not the semi-intelligent robot I developed it into) was to clean floors . . . any floor, all day long and without supervision. And there never was a floor that didn't need cleaning. It swept, or mopped, or vacuum-cleaned, or polished, consulting tapes in its idiot memory to decide which. Anything larger than a BB shot it picked up and placed in a tray on its upper surface, for someone brighter to decide whether to keep or throw away.
(Read more about Heinlein's hired girl robot maid)

Update 30-Oct-2023: I should add this picture of a robotic lawnmower from City (1944) by Clifford Simak:


(Robotic Mower from 'City' by Clifford Simak)

End update.

Via What if a Vacuum Robot has an arm?.

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