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"One can see the free software movement as a precusor for a "free hardware" or "free wetware" movement--one that will provide free libraries of designs for biological or nanotechnological products that replicators can be programmed to churn out."
- Charles Stross

Hired Girl Robot  
  The amazing floor-cleaning robot!  

What Hired Girl would do (the first model, not the semi-intelligent robot I developed it into) was to clean floors . . . any floor, all day long and without supervision. And there never was a floor that didn't need cleaning. It swept, or mopped, or vacuum-cleaned, or polished, consulting tapes in its idiot memory to decide which. Anything larger than a BB shot it picked up and placed in a tray on its upper surface, for someone brighter to decide whether to keep or throw away. It went quietly looking for dirt all day long, in search curves that could miss nothing, passing over clean floors in its endless search for dirty floors. It would get out of a room with people in it, like a well-trained maid, unless its mistress caught up with it and flipped a switch to tell the poor thing it was welcome. Around dinnertime it would go to its stall and soak up a quick charge-this was before we installed the everlasting power pack. There was not too much difference between Hired Girl, Mark One, and a vacuum cleaner. But the difference-that it would clean without supervision-was enough; it sold."
From The Door Into Summer, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Unknown in 1956
Additional resources -

This bot has an amazing set of specs:

  • Sweeps, mops, vacuums and polishes
  • Entirely autonomous operation
  • Uses search curves for efficiency
  • Returns to base for charging
Heinlein identifies autonomous operation as the most important feature.

(Thanks to an anonymous reader for reminding me about this one.)

Comment/Join this discussion ( 2 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Door Into Summer
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to The Door Into Summer
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Hired Girl Robot-related news articles:
  - iRobot Scooba And Heinlein's 'Hired Girl' Robot
  - RIDC-01 Robot Maid Will Not Replace Rosie In Our Hearts
  - Romi Robot Orwellian Vacuum Cleaner
  - Tondon Robot Autonomous Floor Cleaner
  - ReadyBot Robot Picks Up Like Heinlein 'Hired Girl'
  - SmartPal V Robot Picks Up, Vacuums Rec Room
  - iRobot's Five Million Home Robots
  - Mahru-Z Robot Maid
  - Dyson 360 Eye Robot Vacuum Cleaner
  - PLEN2 DIY Robot Cleaner Steals Your Heart

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Qoobo Headless Robotic Therapy Cat Was Anne McCaffrey's Idea
PUFFER Robots - From Philip K DIck's Second Variety?

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