Predictions and robotics for 2017
Jan. 2, 2016
by Mark Ollig

We can finally say goodbye to 2016, and optimistically welcome in 2017.

While browsing online, I’ve found many predictions for the New Year, along with some interesting technology to make our lives a bit easier.

One website, with the techy sounding name of Quantumrun, caught my eye.

Whenever I see the word, “quantum,” it always reminds me of “Quantum Leap,” the television series I faithfully watched each week from 1989 to 1993.

“It’s your future; discover what you’re in for,” declares the Quantumrun banner over its 2017 predictions of “things to come.”

One of the predictions I hope comes true is for new technology allowing smartphone battery life to double.

In addition to frequently checking my social media, I’m constantly glancing at how much battery power is remaining in my smartphone.

Our planet is currently populated by 7,361,400,000 people, according to http://www.census.gov/popclock.

Quantumrun forecasts this year the population will reach 7,515,284,000.

Surprisingly, of these 7.5 billion people, they forecast less than half will have internet access.

Internet technology manufacturer Cisco Systems, Inc. predicts total global internet protocol based data traffic/information will pass 1 ZB (zettabyte) by the end of this year.

One zettabyte equals about one trillion gigabytes.

Arithmetically, it’s the numeral 1 followed by 24 zeroes.

The incredible amount of data being created, shared, and stored these days in the Internet Cloud and on legacy data servers continues to dramatically grow each year.

In fact, the size of these numbers can become difficult to wrap our minds around.

Back in the day, personal computer memory was mostly addressed using bits, bytes, kilobytes, and megabytes.

Today, we speak of computing data storage using terms like gigabytes and terabytes.

In the near future, we will require petabytes worth of data storage memory for all our computing needs.

How long will it be before we start needing exabytes and zettabytes of memory capacity?

But I digress.

For those of us using the microwave as our personal executive cooking chef, we’ll soon be offered another option.

The Moley Robotic Kitchen contains two robotic “chef arms” capable of cooking 2,000 different recipes.

It’s scheduled to become available for the public to purchase this year.

The two London-based makers of this robotic cook recently unveiled their kitchen prodigy during a technology fair in Germany.

Moley Robotics developed the prototype, “Robochef,” while Shadow Robot Company designed what has been called “two remarkably dexterous robotic arms” which are attached above the kitchen’s cooking area.

Chef Tim Anderson “trained” the Robochef prototype, and said this robotic cook “can do anything from a bit of prep, to completing an entire dish.”

While I am intrigued by the idea of having a robotic chef in my home, I am also apprehensive about seeing cooking robots being used in public restaurant kitchens.

They may start out innocently enough, by assisting the humans doing the actual cooking in the kitchen; however, I suspect this could progress into what some predict and fear; the eventual robotic takeover of jobs and tasks normally performed by humans.

Of course, there are advantages of using robotic technology; such as for law enforcement in disarming explosives, or being the eyes used to assess a threatening situation, but this is the topic for another column.

The Moley RoboChef can be seen at the company’s YouTube channel, http://bit.ly/2iAg1i5.

Mark Oleynik, CEO and founder of Moley Robotics, recently made a presentation of its robotic kitchen and its artificial intelligence. This video can be seen at http://bit.ly/2hKn0Rr.

The company’s website is: http://www.moley.com.

Let’s move from the automated kitchen to the automated laundry room.

One of my weekly tasks consists of folding the laundry from the dryer.

I must admit I don’t always follow the correct laundry folding methods.-

Soon, a robotic laundry folding appliance may be neatly and correctly folding our shirts and pants, while a delicious gourmet meal is being prepared by our Robochef for dinner.

Laundroid is publicized as “The World’s 1st Laundry Folding Bot” according to Seven Dreamers, a company based in Tokyo, Japan, with offices in California.

Physically, Laundroid is a glossy-smooth, carbon-black tower cabinet which fits into a wardrobe closet.

Demonstrated during the Tokyo consumer electronics show, Laundroid took a freshly laundered shirt placed into its clothes chute, and within four minutes, fashioned it into a crisply folded shirt.

The Laundroid device uses image analysis and artificial intelligence technology which scans a wrinkled piece of clothing from the laundry, and determines what type of clothing it is.

This is important; as I would not want Laundroid to fold my dress shirt into a sock ball.

The actual robotic technology used to fold the clothes is, according to its makers, “confidential.” This leaves me to wonder what they have hiding behind the curtain folding the clothes.

To see Laundroid in action, check out this short Reuters video, http://bit.ly/2hKfWUO.

A longer video can be seen on The Japan Times YouTube channel, http://bit.ly/1TYqG0B.

Pre-orders for Laundroid are expected to begin this year.

Laundroid will be facing competition, such as from another automated laundry folding machine called “FoldiMate.”

The English website for Laundroid is https://laundroid.sevendreamers.com/en.

Let’s get ready to witness, not only the predicted technologies during 2017, but the unpredicted ones, too.

Stay tuned.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter at @bitsandbytes.

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