This bright yellow cube-on-wheels was built by Subaru (Fuji Heavy Industries) and Sumitomo. Given the name Tondon after the Balinese snake god, this robot cleans the floors of a 14-story apartment complex in Tokyo, Japan... unsupervised! It can even use the building's elevators. Roomba's big brother?
Implications - Designers are making the most of recent technological advancements in robotics by creating autonomous robots that can do tedious but basic chores. This design by Subaru, for example, is a robotic janitor that vacuums high-rise apartments, eliminating the need for human housekeepers. While these futuristic helper bots eliminate human jobs, they also cut a company's personnel costs and showcase its technological prowess.