One in five vacuums is a robot

‘Could you please clean the living room?’

A larger and larger number of people are giving this kind of instruction (using either words or buttons) to a machine. Automated vacuum cleaners now make 20 percent of the world’s vacuums, wrote Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch, citing iRobot CEO and co-founder Colin Angle.

According to TechCrunch, iRobot easily dominates the worldwide market for smart vacuums — roughly two out of three vacuum robots are a version of Roomba, made by iRobot. That’s 14 million Roombas sold so far, said Angle at TechCrunch Beijing 2016.

They tend to be pricier than conventional vacuum cleaners, with prices ranging from about $375 to $900 in the US, but then again not all vacuums can clean the house by themselves while you’re checking out the latest blogs.

Vacuum robots may come with features like multi-room navigation, scheduling and self-charging, and some can be controlled with smartphone apps.

Angle thinks of the entire home of the future as a robot. He said in Beijing, “the vacuum cleaners and the other devices are hands and eyes and appendages of the home robot.” In his vision, the smart home isn’t just a bunch of devices that you can control from your smartphone. “We need a home that programs itself, and you just live in your home, and the home does the right thing based on understanding what’s going on,” he added.

Security risks

Household robots are becoming ever more popular.

Besides smart vacuums, companies like iRobot, Friendly Robotics, MobileRobots, Siemens and others produce automated assistants that can clean gutters, mow the lawn, iron and help with all sorts of other chores.However, according to Infosec Institute, home robots come with privacy and security risks.

Experts say such robots can be easily hacked if users don’t change the default passwords. Some household robots “collect and save big amounts of personal data from the home,” which can produce devastating effects if it falls into the hands of hackers, Infosec Institute warned in October. Hacked robots could even be used to physically harm people, it added. And, of course, like any other software-run device, they can be infected with malware.

This doesn’t mean you should stay away from smart appliances that can make your life easier. However, always think of security, and save yourself a lot of trouble by making sure your home network is protected.

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