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The Patin brings the futuristic robot butler one step closer to reality

A new gadget from Japanese company Flower Robotics fuses artificial intelligence and cloud technology with a Roomba-liked household gadget.

Flower Robotics

With technology advancing in leaps and bounds, we're getting closer and closer to having the futuristic concept of a robotic butler become a reality. At the recent Tokyo Design Week, Flower Robotics demonstrated the Patin, a device which isn't quite a robot butler, but is impressively close.

Aimed for production sometime in 2016, the Patin is a wheeled robot, much like the Roomba , that's built around adaptive, learning artificial intelligence. It makes household objects smart, bringing autonomous mobile function to existing items. For instance, if one was to place a light atop the Patin, it would scan the room for the ideal spot for a light-source relative to its owner, roll over there and start illuminating.

The Patin has various sensors, such as depth detection cameras and contact sensors, to predict and react to environmental changes, and uses its AI to anticipate the user's needs based on the item attached to it, like the aforementioned light. A video shows the ambitious cyborg using its AI for similarly smart usage of music players, TV projectors and even plant growers.

The device was announced in September of last year, but it's being shown at the Tokyo Design Week, which took place from October 25 to November 3, indicates that development is coming along as planned.

With the introduction of the wildly popular Roomba, of which this year iRobot has sold over a million units, many have become more open to the idea of living with and making use of robots for house functions. The Patin could be seen as the next evolution in household robotics, bridging the gap between present and future with its cloud-based connectivity and AI.

To further speed up house-robot evolution, the Patin is being made as an open-source platform, giving developers and tech-savvy customers a chance to create their own features and modular applications for it. According to the Japanese company, a developer's kit has been made available for third parties ahead of the robot's planned 2016 release.

Pricing and details of its availability outside of Japan haven't been revealed.