Our bodies are built differently and adjust in different ways to the same environment. Some like it cold, while others prefer a toasty space. There are also people whose body temperatures adjust more quickly, causing them to get cold or hot faster than others. The problem with air conditioners and heaters is that they are all-or-nothing solutions, adjusting the room to a temperature that may not be comfortable for everyone in the same space. The ideal but impractical solution would be to give each one their own personal air conditioner, but this smart home robot concept tries to offer a more practical answer that still manages to deliver a personalized cold or warm breeze to the right person that needs it.
Designer: Miray Ozlem ER
This robot air conditioner combines several technologies and concepts that are already present in our homes today. Those with smart appliances may already have plenty of sensors detecting the environment they’re in, so it might not be too much of a stretch to have a robot with a thermal camera rolling about, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner. We also have plenty of portable air coolers, warmers, and scent diffusers these days, so cobbling them together into a single appliance isn’t exactly a pipe dream, either.
The idea behind the design, however, is a little bit more nuanced. Body temperature can greatly affect one’s moods and emotions, and since different bodies have different temperature needs even if they’re in the same room, the robot can navigate to the right person or group and let free a gust of cold or hot air, depending on what they need to get them into a state of equilibrium. The robot can also release fragrances across the room, which is a more effective way of diffusing scents rather than relying on natural airflow.
The design of the robot itself is quite peculiar, looking almost like a UFO that has been grounded. The base is a disc with a low dome top, and it contains wheels for movement and an air purifier for sucking in dirty room air to be released by the robot later. The “top” part is a sphere that can roll in place to direct the air and scents at an angle. It also contains thermal sensors and a screen that displays the ambient temperature. Concentric circles glow in red or cyan to indicate whether it’s releasing hot or cold air, respectively.
This kind of rolling air conditioner robot is admittedly a more feasible design compared to a drone that flies around the house. There is, however, also room for some more frivolous future features, such as a magnetic levitation mechanism similar to some wireless speakers in the market today. Of course, that doesn’t mean it would be a practical addition, especially if it gets in the way of functionality, but it’s still an interesting option to keep in mind when the technology reaches that point.