First, they’ve created a Robot Chef, and apparently it makes a killer crab bisque. It’s not a whole robot in a chef’s hat, which is what the term “robot chef” brings to mind. It’s really a set of arms that descends from the ceiling with some super-sophisticated hands.Tim Anderson, the 2011 winner of BBC’s MasterChef, taught it to make a perfect crab bisque using motion-capturing gloves and wristbands. It took a few tries to nail the bisque, but now it makes a perfect one every time.
Drawback: It has to work in a meticulously organized kitchen, because otherwise it can’t find anything. Therefore, it’s not coming to my house anytime soon.
This next one has a slightly wider skill set: it’s the robot bartender! The Makr Shakr is also a set of robotic arms, but these arms make cocktails. It’s already in use on some Royal Caribbean cruise ships, in what they call “Bionic Bars.” (YES!) While the Makr Shakr goes beyond the limitations of its bisque-making cousin, I do think that a lot of people go to their neighborhood bars for the bartender, and robot arms are a poor substitute.
Then there’s Tomatan. This perplexing creation provides a service I don’t think anybody here was aware that they needed. A Japanese invention, Tomatan is carried like a backpack and reaches down to hold a tomato—specifically—in front of your mouth so you can take bites while you run. Apparently tomato-eating is very popular during Japanese marathons.
Creative as these ideas are, they don’t seem all that practical. Here are the robots that would make my life—and many moms’ lives—better and easier:
1. A Clothes-Picking-Up Robot
My daughter is 7, and sheds her clothes like a snake sheds its skin. It used to be just her socks, but now it’s everything, left in a winding trail all over the house, with an extra post-shower pile-up in the bathroom. I’d like a robot that follows her around and picks up the clothes right as she drops them, because I’m tired of doing it after the fact.
2. A Nagging Robot
How about a robot that stays in the kitchen at breakfast time, while I’m getting ready in another room, and says things like, “Finish your waffle,” or “you’ve still got some milk left!”? That’d be nice. It would also be helpful in the evening for the toy cleaning up period. It can nag me too, I’m down with that. I need nagging as much as the next guy.
3. A Multitasking Enabler Robot
I need more arms, and I’d settle for robotic ones if it didn’t mean I had to find a shirt with more sleeves in it. I’d love it if a robot would follow me around with my coffee cup in the morning so I stopped losing it, and maybe hold up my iPad and check the weather and my email while I’m taking care of my grooming routine in the bathroom. In fact, if Tomatan served coffee instead of tomatoes, I’d wear it all morning long.
4. A Laundry-Folding Robot
This requires no explanation.
5. A Backpack-Checking Robot
This would save me from missing the field trip forms, or finding crusts in my daughter’s lunchbox 18 hours after she left them there.
6. A Toilet Paper Roll-Changing Robot
Somebody else has to know how to do this besides me.
7. A Deciding-What’s-for-Dinner Robot
Because at the end of the day, the deciding can be more torturous than the preparation, unless we want to have crab bisque every night.