10 Future Inventions Everyone's Been Waiting For


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Robot Maids
We still dream of robot maids. (Javier Pierini /Taxi/Getty Images)

The most obvious answer to a complaint about the lack of robot maids is of course, "Hey, buddy, go buy a Roomba." Because while they don't really resemble George Jetson's robotic maid Rosie, modern bots do carry out a host of floor vacuuming, tile scrubbing and pool cleaning chores.

Of course, the vision of the computerized maid goes beyond mere automated dust busting. What we've been waiting for is a true robotic domestic servant capable of safely navigating a human living environment to carry out everything from cleaning the toilet to cooking pancakes.

But in order to actually move through our kitchens and interact with us, robots will need to be capable of social learning. A truly social bot will need to evaluate environmental stimuli with a discriminating eye. In short, a true robotic maid would need to be autonomous. Scientists from Cornell University are on the case, and are slowly creating robots that might be able anticipate human needs. They predict that in the next few years we might see a robot maid who can do some specific tasks. So far, they've already developed a "robo-maid" who can open a fridge and pour you a beer [source: Carroll]. A far greater help than, say, folding laundry.