Tech by VICE

Meet the Domestic Robots Who Will Be Co-Parenting Your Kids

In their new designs, Philipp Schmitt, Stephan Bogner, and Jonas Voigt imagine a world of future 'Robotic Natives.'

by Gabrielle Bruney
Mar 12 2016, 7:00pm

All images courtesy of the artists

If you think the idea of “robotic natives” sounds far-fetched, remember that our parents could never have imagined that we would live in a time where babies use so many devices and so little paper that they try to swipe magazines as if they were iPads. We’re digital natives, but our own kids may grow up in a world where domestic robots are just another part of the kiddie scenery, alongside mobiles and sippy cups. In their new project, Raising Robotic Natives, designers Philipp SchmittStephan Bogner,and Jonas Voigt imagine the future products no home will be without, from a robot that bottle feeds baby to a handy electrical shutdown button, in case these new household bots get out of hand.

"Initially we started off with the idea of 'Robotics in your everyday life,’” Bogner tells The Creators Project. "We created lots of scenarios describing future usage of domestic robots– not the humanoid ones, but the ones which might come next, like the domestic robotic arm (which you can already find on Kickstarter).” They narrowed their focus to how domestic robots would be used by one segment of the population: children. "We were guiding it from there with the idea that we might be too old and biased for new use cases, but how will our children react to it?” writes Bogner. "These children will maybe never hear of factory accidents involving robots. They might never watch Terminator, but they might watch Wall-E and play with their Roomba at home."

And they didn’t just imagine these products for robotic natives—they built them, and created instructables so that you can build them, too. Aside from the bottle feeder and kill switch, the team also created also a mock-up of a children’s book illustrated by Margot Fabre that introduces kids the the robots in their lives via Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics,  and a dinosaur-shaped robot cozy that turns a machine from cold metal into the perfect playmate.

“Those first domestic robots will really take off, then we will have a lot more robots in our homes in the coming years,” writes Bogner. "So we think the first Robotic Natives could already be born around 2020. But it will take time until they grow up, so they can tell us about their experiences, their views on the world and their ideas for the robotic future."

To learn more about Raising Robotic Natives, click here.


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Philipp Schmitt
Jonas Voigt
Stephan Bogner