Tech That Keeps You From Doing These Chores Ever Again

For decades, we've been imagining what life might be like once robots can do all of the everyday tasks on our behalf. Now, finally, that day might be at hand. Instead of the all-purpose machines that did housekeeping for the Jetsons, current technology requires, for the most part, a separate machine for each task. The good news is those machines are becoming more widely available and more affordable.

Recently, scientists spoke to a collection of A.I. experts in Japan and the United Kingdom to quiz them on their predictions for the future of smart technology. While their individual opinions differed, they predicted that roughly 40% of chores and household tasks – from laundry to grocery shopping — could be automated within the next decade. Already, companies like Dyson are working on robots to do chores for you in the home, and they aren't the only ones. If market trends and expert predictions are actually indicative of the future, then your days of scrubbing grime are numbered. In fact, there are already technologies available to prevent you from doing these chores ever again.


This is perhaps the easiest chore to tick off your to-do list, thanks to the wide array of robotic vacuums popularized by iRobot's Roomba. Today, roughly a quarter of all vacuum sales are robotic, according to market data from UnivDatos.

In recent years, the cost of robotic vacuums has come down and their functionality has gone up, leading to wider adoption within the market. The functionality of your specific robotic vacuum cleaner will vary depending on the brand and model you select, but they all have the same primary job: keeping your floors dust free.

The simplest and most affordable robotic vacuums bounce around your home, pinging off of walls and furniture in their endless search for dust bunnies. Others are capable of mapping out rooms or following pre-programmed paths which you design. Setting up scheduled vacuuming times when you're away from home means that your floors are always clutter free with hardly any effort on your part. Just remember to empty the receptacle every few days.


Why stop at just picking up dust and clutter, when you can have a robot scrub your floors to a sparkling clean? Once robots conquered the task of vacuuming, it wasn't a far leap to get them mopping up after us as well. Robotic mops are similar in design and function to the robotic vacuums you're likely familiar with, but instead of a receptacle for dust and trash, they have a tank that can hold water or cleaner.

After your robot vacuum picks up all the odds and ends, your robotic mop can follow behind, dispensing cleanser and water from the nozzle at the front and scrubbing up any stuck-on mess. The same company that brought us the Roomba also offers the Braava, an autonomous mopping robot with a bunch of cool features.

The Braava will map out your house, identifying rooms that should be mopped and rooms that shouldn't. You wouldn't want your little mechanical buddy trying to mop up your bedroom carpet. Then it patrols its rounds, shooting out cleaner only when necessary, and sucking up messes with the pad attached to its underside. All you have to do is top it up with liquids and change its clothes every now and again.

Cleaning the pool

Owning a personal pool is a great way to cool off during the summer heat and socialize with family and friends without having to rub elbows with wet strangers. That said, the maintenance can be a hassle that transforms what should be a fun addition to your home into just one more obligation.

You could spend hours with a net, manually pulling floating and sunken debris from your once-pristine swimming hole. You could bribe a neighborhood child or pay a service to come in on a regular basis and do the cleaning for you. Alternatively, you could get a robot to do it for you.

Pool-cleaning robots like the ALPHA iQ+ from Polaris will patrol the bottom of your pool, seeking out dirt and debris, so that you don't even have to think about it. The robot's internal AI maps your pool and figures out the most efficient way to keep it clean. When your robot's belly is full, all you have to do is press a button on your phone and the robot will meet you at the water line. As you pull it from the pool all the water is dumped from the robot, making it lighter and leaving the pool trash behind. All you have to do is rinse out the filter canister and pop it back in. Best of all, no one's spouse has ever run off with a pool-cleaning robot. Yet.

Washing windows

Washing windows is one of those chores which is such a pain and so easily forgotten. If we're all honest with ourselves, it has probably been way too long since it has been done, and you're probably staring down years' worth of accumulated grime. All of which is just more motivation to pull the curtains and forget about it for a few more months.

Believe it or not, engineers have managed to defy both the odds and gravity to develop robots capable of clinging onto your windows and scrubbing them for you while you put your feet up and catch up on your reading.

The appropriately named Gecko, from Gladwell, uses microfiber pads equipped with vacuum pumps to adhere to your window. Once you set it going, it will find the boundaries of your window and clean it from top to bottom. When it's finished, an alert will sound and the vacuum stays on, to prevent it from falling off the window. Of course, accidents do happen, and the Gecko comes equipped with an anti-fall tether to protect it from tumbles. A chore that used to require a ladder, a bucket, a sponge, and several hours of free time is now as simple as the press of a button.

Mowing the lawn

For some, mowing the lawn and tending the garden is a source of serenity and joy. For others, the thought of it brings nothing but dread. It's hot and sweaty, it takes forever, you have to sacrifice a pair of shoes to the green gods, and there's definitely some dog poo you forgot to clean up that you're destined to step in. To paraphrase the great Bilbo Baggins, "It's a dangerous business going out of your door." Fortunately, a robot doesn't have any of those concerns.

The market for robotic lawnmowers is pretty well saturated, leaving you with plenty of options to choose from including the Terra from iRobot, the Navimow from Segway (yes, that Segway), and the Landroid M robotic mower from WORX. They work similarly to your robotic vacuum except they do it outside. To make sure your mower doesn't wander off, most models rely on some sort of boundary sensors — typically a boundary wire or beacons — which are usually buried at the edges of your lawn.

Some models, like the Terra, have easier boundary beacons that don't require you to dig up your lawn. Segway's Navimow, likewise, uses a combination of sensors and onboard GPS to make sure it stays in your yard. They'll map out your yard and determine the most efficient way to mow, avoiding obstacles and keeping your grass perfectly trimmed.

Cleaning carpet stains

When it comes to keeping your carpets clean, vacuuming is only the beginning of the battle against dirt. No matter how vigilant you are, keeping carpets clean becomes increasingly difficult the older they get. Pets, spills, and ordinary wear will eventually leave your carpets with the signature polka-dotted pattern of entropy if you aren't careful.

Historically, stains in the carpet have meant getting down on your hands and knees to scrub out spots manually with soap and a scrub brush. Now, there are automated carpet cleaners that only ask you to keep them filled, put them where they are needed, and press a button.

Once you identify an offending spot, machines like the SpotBot from Bissell send cleaner deep into your carpet fibers, scrub away stains with rotating brushes, and suck the dingy water back into a separated receptacle all while you do literally anything else. It's a small investment to extend the lifespan of your carpet without giving yourself blisters.

Cleaning the litter box

Cats are, for the most part, pretty low maintenance. They largely keep to themselves, they don't make a lot of noise, and you don't have to take them outside. They'll even catch the occasional household pest if you're lucky. The downside, of course, is they poop in a box in your home, and you have to clean it up.

Even the most fastidious cat makes a smelly mess and scooping it by hand is bound to be one of your least favorite regular activities. There's no glamorous way to bend down and empty your pet's waste bin by hand, but a robot can put a layer of buffer between you and the mess, allowing you to enjoy your pet's company while keeping your hands clean.

The Litter-Robot 4 from Whisker comes with a steep $699 price tag, but it takes all of the most disgusting parts out of having a cat in your home. Using built-in sensors, it detects when your cat is using the litter box (it can even distinguish between different cats in the same household) and automatically collects your cat's waste when they're finished. As the interior is rotated, solids are separated from clean litter and tucked away in a sealed compartment.

In addition to doing the dirty work for you, the Litter-Robot 4 can also provide health insights, based on your cat's litter box usage, which could help keep your companion happier and healthier.

Folding laundry

Doing laundry is a multi-step process that requires a little more finesse than most machines are capable of. Despite that, we've gotten pretty good at automating most of the process. Washing and drying clothes no longer requires a basin of water and a washboard, and drying doesn't rely on clothespins and a mild wind. Washing and drying your clothes in the modern day only requires tossing your clothes into a machine with detergent and pressing a button or two. However, folding remains a manual process that has to be done one item of clothing at a time.

So many of us, even if we imagine better versions of ourselves, resort to pulling freshly cleaned clothes from the hamper rather than actually folding or hanging them up. The LG Styler seeks to simplify laundry by putting the entire process inside of one machine.

As long as your clothes aren't actually soiled, you can put your worn clothes directly into the styler already on hangers and it will clean them sort of like an in-home dry cleaner. Your clothes will come out clean and already hung up when the cycle is finished. The Styler sanitizes clothes so that they are clean, fresh, and ready to be worn again. However, if you're clothes are actually dirty or stained, you'll have to wash, dry, and fold them the old-fashioned way. Even the future has room for improvement.

Scrubbing the toilet

Indoor plumbing is one of the most incredible innovations in human history. Every day we take for granted the simple luxury of using the bathroom in the privacy of our how homes. That said, toilets are gross for reasons we probably don't have to get into, and they have to be cleaned. While we appreciate having the use of them whenever nature calls, cleaning our own latrines isn't exactly our idea of a good time.

If scrubbing a toilet by hand doesn't sound like your ideal evening, then the Giddel toilet-cleaning robot might be worth the $400 initial investment. We admit that this robot looks like something out of a carwash's nightmares, but it's designed for a specific purpose.

Once you attach it to your toilet and wake it up, this robot gets to work scrubbing every disgusting inch of your toilet bowl without any risk of you accidentally touching something or suffering a dreaded splashback incident. When it's finished cleaning, all you have to do is press a lever to release it from your toilet and then apologize for what you made it do.

Picking up pet waste

Remember that dog poo you stepped in before you got a robot to mow the lawn for you? Well, all of that doo-doo is still out there waiting for you, like landmines hidden in your freshly mown lawn. Tread carefully while you're out playing catch in the evening; your next step could lead to disaster. The good news is that you can automate outdoor pet cleanup with a robotic poop-scooper from Beetl Robotics.

Much like a robot vacuum, mop, or lawn mower, this machine is designed to map out your yard, seek out waste left behind by your pets, and destroy it. And by destroy it, we mean pick it up and hold onto it until you're ready. Once it has the lay of the land, the robot uses front-mounted cameras to look for anomalies in your lawn and retrieve them. Its software is sophisticated enough to distinguish waste from other yard objects like stones or toys. When it's done cleaning, it returns to its docking station to recharge. You'll find it there, with a special delivery, whenever is most convenient.


No one likes dusting. It gets into all the crooks and crevices you don't normally think about, and by the time you're finished making the rounds of your house, you've kicked up so much dust that you're stuffy and sneezing. An actual robot that will do the dusting for you might be too much to hope for, at least for now, but there are gadgets that can reduce the amount of dust in your home and, as a result, the frequency with which you have to clean it up.

A good air purifier will gather particulates from the air in your home before they have a chance to settle on surfaces. Not only will that reduce the need for dusting ceiling fans, countertops, and windowsills, but it could also help you and your family to breathe a little more easily at home.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is between two and five times more polluted, on average, than outdoor air. And those pollutants can be accompanied by dust, bacteria, viruses, and allergens. A good filter can snag most of these particles out of the air, keeping your house a little cleaner and maybe even a little healthier.