In observing technology developments for many years, it becomes apparent that often the developments that make a technology practical:
- often are developed for other purposes
- are frequently very mundane components of the overall project
Robotics has benefited from both these occurrences: microprocessors originally developed for computers and wireless communications originally developed for home networks have made robot control much cheaper. But arguably the largest impact on what most people think of as "robotics" has been the development of new battery technology. This falls into the second category - pretty mundane - but new rechargeable battery technologies have made robotics practical. For example, the Roomba vacuums by iRobot were not possible with the old, heavy, bulky lead-acid rechargeable batteries.
We expect home robotic technology to rapidly advance, especially as aids for aging homeowners.