Imagine a world where, every day, you wake up in the morning and find the breakfast table already set and the house tidied up. A special treat by your fairy god mother? Not quite; try Roby and Rosy, the robots.
Robots are becoming more and more important in our lives: we already use them in research, in industry, in construction; and we increasingly use them to help us out at home. So, why don't we all get one? Actually, thanks to an EU-funded project called RoboEarth we might be able to, one day. RoboEarth can make robots more flexible and ultimately cut their cost. The project created an online external "brain" for robots, an Internet specifically designed just for them: a cloud-based platform called Rapyuta. Today, robots need to carry on them all the know-how that allows them to perform their tasks: that makes them expensive and less flexible. By placing their computation power in the cloud and allowing robots to access the web, RoboEarth allows robots to share any reusable knowledge independently of their hardware and configuration. They can thus quickly make sense of an obstacle or an object that they haven't encountered before and then navigate around it; interaction with an ever-changing environment without using the cloud would take them much more time and would require much more power from the robot.
In this funny video, you can see how Roby and Rosy use Rapyuta to achieve better results. Not surprisingly, the project has already attracted a lot of attention; find more about it on BBC Technology News, on Spectrum and in an older blog post.