Fido’s Adventures

Marc G. Slack

While is it beyond the state of the art to implement a general purpose household cleaning robot. It is possible to define niches within which simple technology can do an adequate job so as to make the technology both useful and affordable. The designer of such systems should not be limited by thinking how a person would approach the problem but rather how can simple mechanisms be utilized to fill the niche. The designer should also not be concerned overly much with the implications of the system’s lack of cognizance. For example, if people leave valuable dirt on their carpet and forget to turn off Fido then it should simply be too bad. Simple solutions do not negate the integration of vision, speech recognition, or other "complex" systems. it simply places constraints on their use and packaging. As soon as a speech recognition system is cheap enough and small enough, Fido could as easily be responsive to vocal commands as those commands given by the remote control. Start simple and add complexity only as dictated by the task, environment and users.

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