For years -- decades -- we've been regaled with tales of housekeeping robots. Remember Rosie from "The Jetsons"? Yet here we are, in the 21st century, with a handful of robotic household helpers. All is not lost, however. Inventors are still hard at work trying to perfect the perfect 'bot. One prototype unveiled by research scientists in Germany is a one-armed, three-fingered wonder that can pick up items while on clean-up duty, serve drinks to its owners and their guests, and even operate some machines. Numerous sensors prevent it from inadvertently (and painfully) clamping its hand around your arm. While users can direct the robot via a touch-screen in its serving tray, it also responds to spoken commands, plus can understand and respond to gestures [source: Science Daily].
This is just one version of a household robot, of course. There are others in development, and it's anybody's guess which one(s) will actually be developed, marketed and sold. Or if they'll be priced so that the average person can afford one. But we haven't given up on the concept.