Roboticists and automation enthusiasts, start your engines. This 2021 Hackaday Prize challenge is made just for you! It’s the Redefine Robots challenge and it calls for a softer, more utopian side of what tomorrow’s automated future can be.
The promise of robots has always been one of making our lives better. But so far we still don’t have a robot assistant sitting next to us ready to lend a hand. That’s where you come in! Whether it’s a physical, nuts-and-bots robot or a 1’s and 0’s software bot, create something that people can see and interact with in their day-to-day lives in ways that make sense and make us feel good about where technology is going.
We make fun of the robot that’s been brought into the world to pass the butter, but honestly if that’s something someone needs help with, isn’t a robot a pretty good solution? That’s what [Michael Roybal] thought way back during the 2016 Hackaday Prize when he designed Zizzy the robot to zip around a tabletop, assisting people with limited mobility.
In the same year, [Mike Rigsby] was working on a little bot whose purpose was to wander around interacting with people. A robot companion (dare we say pet?) is one way to keep up interactivity for people spending long periods of time alone. Along the same lines is the EMOJO chatbot already entered in this year’s contest that seeks to deliver a digital companion onscreen.
Assistive robots aren’t the only ones to shine here. Consider some labor savers, like pick-and-place robots that help you build electronics. Does that reinvent robots? Maybe, maybe not, but getting a 3D printer to do your solder for you sure does. Think of how revolutionary robot vacuums were for people who own both hardwood floors and cats. Those bots are around humans all the time and seem normal now. What’s next automation to get this introduction into everyday life?
Ten finalists from this round will win $500 and be shuttled onto the final round judging in October for a chance at the $25,000 Hackaday Prize and four other top prizes. Start your project page on Hackaday.io and use the drop-down in the left sidebar to enter it into the 2021 Hackaday Prize.