One in 10 U.S. homes may have a robot by 2020

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Study shows next 4 years will see sharp growth in home robots

Don't have a robot working in your home? In a few years, you just might.

At least one in 10 U.S. homes will have a consumer robot by 2020, according to a study from Juniper Research. That number is up considerably from the one robot in 25 homes this year.

We're not quite ready to have a Rosie the robot, like the one on The Jetsons, working in homes as maids and cooks, but the first robots to enter our homes likely will be task oriented, doing basic household chores like mowing the lawn or vacuuming.

That means while some hotels and businesses are starting to use robots as butlers or guides, the vast majority of people are likely to start by bringing a simpler machine, like an iRobot's Roomba, into their household.

"The state of consumer robotics could be compared to the PC in the late 70s," said Juniper Research analyst Steffen Sorrell. "Venture capitalist and corporate investment has ramped up tremendously recently. They know that this is the start of a paradigm shift in the way we use and interact with machines."

Getting more complex and capable robots into homes will call for a jump in technology, as well as a drop in price, Juniper noted.

Another key to getting more robots into American homes is the trust issue.

As robots, particularly bigger, stronger machines, enter the marketplace, they will need to gain the trust of the humans with whom they are working. People will need to be fairly assured that the robots won't hurt them or damage their possessions. Forming that kind of trust will be a big hurdle.

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