"We may be on the verge of a new era, when the PC will get up off the desktop and allow us to see, hear, touch and manipulate objects in places where we are not physically present."
Bill Gates, Chairman, Microsoft Corp
Scientific American, December, 2006
IMAGINE THIS ...
You get to work, and you don’t remember if you turned off the iron. Unfazed, you open an internet link to your robot, fire up the motors, take control via a joy stick or mouse and drive it along your hallway, across the kitchen to laundry room. When it's in sight, you tilt the camera, navigate a little closer and zoom in on the iron’s light. See that the light is on, you click to send a signal to turn off the Infrared wall adapter that your iron is plugged into, you relax – and direct your robot to autonomously reverse the route and go into sleep mode.
FURTHER IMAGINE THIS
You get home late from the office, you’re starving but dinner may have to wait. As usual, you expect large numbers of emails to be waiting and you expected a number of phone calls to come in during the day. No problem, you have a 9-series robot! As you walk into the hallway, the robot moves into the kitchen, which is normally where you like to position it to meet you when you come in.
You move to the fridge and begin to get food out to prepare for dinner and ask your robot "Charger (or whatever name you gave to it) how many emails did I get today? You get the answer – 25 emails today! You ask your robot to read out the "From" column in your inbox and, finding they all sound interesting, you direct your robot to read the subject lines as you cook dinner and when a subject of interest is identified, you have your robot read the entire email. Not difficult functionality, this is done by hundreds of sight-impaired North Americans every day and it’s a feature you’ll find handy. Your robot, having access to your voice messages, also informs you that you have a number of voice messages, one in particular that you’ve been expecting. Undeterred, you ask for those too, but with the important one first – introduced and relayed to you directly from your robot’s speaker. You ask if there is anything else? Your robot informs you that the service on your air conditioner is due next week and that a draft email to your contractor from last year is now in your Outbox Drafts folder awaiting you to send it – of course, its flagged for follow-up.
By the time you’re done checking your messages, dinner is ready. Welcome to digital life!