I Love Ceiling-Mounted Robots

I love the idea of ceiling-mounted robots, because why should I share floor space, especially in a small apartment, with a robot?

One innovative concept is a “gantry robot” that would descend from an overhead framework to perform tasks such as loading the dishwasher, wiping surfaces, and clearing clutter. By traveling on the ceiling, the robot avoids the problems of navigating household floor clutter and navigating cramped spaces. When not in use, the robot would tuck itself up out of the way. To further investigate this idea, the team has built a laboratory prototype robot that can do all the same tasks as a floor-based mobile robot but with the innovative overhead mobility system.

Interestingly, both of the ceiling-mounted robots that I can think of in science fiction are used for telemedicine.

In the prescient short story The Machine Stops (1909), EM Forster describes a telemedicine apparatus:

Vashti was seized with the terrors of direct experience. She shrank back into the room, and the wall closed up again.

"Kuno," she said, "I cannot come to see you. I am not well."

Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling, a thermometer was automatically laid upon her heart. She lay powerless. Cool pads soothed her forehead. Kuno had telegraphed to her doctor...

I also liked this idea, from Starfish (1999), an excellent novel by Peter Watts - the medical mantis:

There's this praying mantis a meter long, all black with chrome trim, hanging upside down from the ceiling of the Medical cubby. ..it hovers over his face, jointed arms clicking and dipping like crazy articulated chopsticks...

The mantis stops in midmotion, its antennae quivering... "Hello, er-Gerry, isn't it?" it says at last. "I'm Dr. Troyka."

If you're into ceilings rather than floors, check out what happens in this video that shows how Eye-bot Lands On Your Ceiling.

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