By Pulak Satish Kumar
Our modern-day lifestyle in the city surprises me—so much like a machine! Home, office, home, punctuated only by the weekend. Imagine heading home after a hectic Friday at work, when all you want to do is kick back with a steaming cup of coffee. Instead reality dictates that a dreadful mess awaits you. You now have to spend the first few hours of your much awaited weekend cleaning your home.
Now imagine this alternate scenario—you come home from work on a Friday evening. You park your car and open your door. Automatically, the lights come on, illuminating your spotlessly clean home. Now all you need to do is ask a wonderfully compact yet powerful device to order in some food and play your favorite film on the television, and you’re ready to enjoy the rest of your weekend.
While even a decade ago, this scenario would sound like the figment of a sci-fi writer’s colourful imagination, today, it is our reality. The advent of superlative technologies, including artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced computing, has caused us to make significant strides in the robotics sector. We are now at the cusp of a revolution through which robots will give us complete freedom from laborious, mundane tasks such as cleaning, cooking, or even taking care of our kids on the days you aren’t feeling up for it.
Robotics in India, the current scenario
In India, robotics has already reached an advanced stage where crucial sectors, such as healthcare, are utilizing the technology to enhance their offerings. Robotic medical assistants are being used to constantly monitor and interpret the vital stats of patients. These revolutionary medical assistants are also capable of analysing patient symptoms and designing a course of treatment. From dispensing drugs to conducting screening tests, robots can now share a lot of responsibilities with humans.
Robots are also replacing humans in warehouses where jobs are labour-intensive and potentially dangerous. From heavy lifting to inventory collection, robots are capable of taking care of all warehousing tasks. In fact, thanks to the massive potential of robotics in warehousing, the Indian market for warehouse automation is projected to grow at a CAGR of 10-12% during 2015-2020, and is expected to reach $3.49 billion by 2020.
Furthermore, robots are also taking over menial tasks such as brooming and mopping floors through the advent of domestic robots. Domestic robots are incredibly intuitive robotic vacuum cleaners that clean your home at the push of a button. These futuristic robots are connected devices which can be accessed through mobile phones and AI powered home assistants such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa. These powerful robo-vacuums have the ability to remove the smallest dust particles as well as large debris from homes, without the slightest need for human intervention.
The best part about these robotic vacuum cleaners is that they can navigate through the house, avoiding stairs, cleaning under furniture and otherwise hard-to-reach spots. With advanced capabilities such as automatic dirt detection and smart navigation, these robots can significantly minimize the participation of humans in household chores.
The future of robotics in India
The rapid transformation and advancement in the robotics sector in India comes as a refreshing development in the technological landscape. The perfect amalgam of AI, Machine Learning and IoT, robotics will undeniably take on scores of jobs currently being tackled by humans. But, why should humans be happy about it? The advancement in robotics is great news for humans as robots will take care of their repetitive, boring and physically draining tasks. Human workers can, therefore, focus on more creative, skill-based roles that will contribute to their pool of knowledge and fast-track their career growth.
As far as the future of robotics in India is concerned, the picture looks bright and replete with potential. Tremendous research is going into the sector, with technologists working towards inventions such as robotic pets, robotic security guards and robotic palliative caretakers. Interestingly, certain AI and machine-learning algorithms are even being taught to write poetry, create paintings and even dream.
It is safe to say the robotics is not just going to transform our lives, but is going to expand it, broadening our horizons and pushing us to learn new things. While making life easier by taking care of mundane chores, robots will also make it pretty fascinating as just being able to witness the things robots will be able to do in the near future is a titillating thought in itself.
Pulak Satish Kumar is the COO of Puresight Systems, a home robotics appliance provider in India.