The Domestic Robots Craze: Helping Enthusiasts Access Their Robotics Hobby
Everyone has a robot these days, it seems. From robotic lawnmowers to robotic vacuum cleaners to robotic window cleaners to even robotic dogs, more and more households are starting to purchase and make use of autonomous robots. Most of these use DC motor controllers, a tool most familiar to those in the robotics hobby. It can feel a bit like a fad at times. However, domestic robots donâ€™t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. Advancements are being made in the world of robotics regularly, and we see that trickle down from its initial
industrial applications into more broad uses. We see manufacturers begin to cater to consumers, and the years passing by inevitably brings us more products to buy. The widespread availability of brushed DC motor controllers today, for example, hides the reality that two decades ago they were far less common, and another decade before then almost entirely inaccessible to the average joe. It was the early 2000s when domestic robots entered the at-large consumer market. The first Roomba took the market by storm, and it cornered that market for a few years before other manufacturers realized there was an actual demand for autonomous robots that could clean the home without a human needing to get involved. Knock-offs came by, more advanced models were prototyped, and soon there it was: a domestic robots market. In many respects, this market has existed independently from the robotics hobby. The schematics and experiments conducted by enthusiasts on the limits of DC motor controllers didnâ€™t seem relevant to the robotic vacuum that was busy vacuuming away in thousands of homes. And thatâ€™s still true, to an extent. But the reverse is not true. Domestic robots make the hobby more accessible. It does this a few different ways.
1. More publicity. It sounds obvious, but more publicity means more people are paying attention. With everyone keeping track of the latest developments in domestic robots, robotics in general is exposed to the public. This drives up interest, encourages businesses to dedicate more resources to its development, and makes it easier for hobbyists to buy their parts, access communities, and just generally enjoy the hobby.
2. More advancement. With the market established, businesses and consumers enter a self-fulfilling cycle of wanting innovation and getting it. As consumers want new features, businesses and engineers will strive to find a way to accomplish those things.
This naturally leads to a greater development: once the kinks are worked out in a market prototype, consumer models become available. Prices are continuously driven down as consumers buy the finished product and as enthusiasts buy the individual parts. This form of market symbiosis was seen years and years ago with brushed DC motor controllers when industrial models were miniaturized and micro processors no longer cost an arm and a leg.
3. More ideas. A common roadblock for enthusiasts is that they run out of ideas. They have a handful of parts, but they donâ€™t know what to work towards. Since there is no obligation and the field is so wide open, indecision can rule over a hobbyist simply due to the sheer number of choices available.
Domestic robots can help ease this struggle; replicating real-world things that you already know work and exist can get rid of a lot of the apprehension you might feel over starting something new. You might not know how to create an autonomous window cleaner, for example, but since it’s available on the market you know that it’s possible. Replicating market success on a DIY basis can help you advance your knowledge a little further while also allowing you to try out something new with those DC motor controllers you’ve got laying around.
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