The Robot that Picks up Stuff for You (and your kids)-Socializing Robotics

A while ago over on my concepts and illustrations page, I had posted some sketches for a robot who’s sole job is to pick up stuff around the house.  This idea was borne while I was working for Brain – a local robotics company working on developing a way to make robots teachable, or trainable vs. the more common path of programming.

Pickup Robot 2
A robot to help around the house.

Teach a robot how to do something and you can get to market faster than programming it.

As a UX guy, my goal has always been about creating a great overall experience, from not only how something works, but also to how it’s packaged, and the whole OOBE (out of box experience).

Knowing that now dear reader, you can understand how my overarching goal is to take anything from a good idea to something really great.  At first when the idea of a robot that picks up your kid’s messes for them came about, going about the house doing what they should be doing, I thought it was truly a bad idea.

Having two grown children of my own, it was important for my wife and I to teach our children to be responsible, pick up after themselves, and take good care of what they had.

A simple concept.

In today’s fast-paced busy world, parents with young children seem to barely have enough time for that. My sister-in-laws children are doing sports (including lots of out of town games), errands, work, life. They’re really not home as much as they’d like as they play chauffeur most the time.

Looking at that, I get the idea of a smart machine helper to help keep the house tidy. And I had this idea, that the robot, instead of being just a machine, could interact with the children, making cleaning up and putting stuff away into different games.

The idea was socializing the robot into the home, so it would be part of the family. This concept wasn’t strange to me, as when I run my R2D2 around town at events, I do what I can to make him seem alive – by causing him to react to people’s interactions appropriately – in other words, creating a great user experience (or what I call a great Human experience).


Today while at the San Diego Comic Con, I met a very nice Disney Imagineer, who’s job is currently socializing robotics – which are being tested at Disney parks. Her job is to make robots seem alive and friendly.  That makes a lot of sense and something, to me, having been playing with robotics since I was very young, is a natural idea.

Needless to say, if you’ve read any of my past posts, being a Disney Imagineer is my dream job, and has been for quite a while. When I had the chance to work with Imagineers a few years ago at D23, that was an experience I will never forget – they all created an amazing experience for me.

So here’s hoping someday soon I’ll get the chance to land there and do what I love to do and what I live for – creating amazing experiences for all of you, and even maybe get to help steer robotics past the labs and into your home by inspiring children and young adults as Disney did for me when I was a child.

And don’t even bring up robot vacuums…



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