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Are we living in The Jetsons? New autonomous gadgets everywhere

Cool tech that's like living in the future.

With so many advancements in autonomous technology these days, it sometimes feels like we’re living in an episode of The Jetsons.

For the post-Millennial Gen Z crowd who might be too young to remember, The Jetsons was a 1960s television cartoon (pre-CGI, with actual drawings made by human hands) that gave us a whimsical vision of what life would be like in the year 2062.

The Jetson family saved a lot of time and energy by using autonomous technologies, from their talking robot housekeeper Rosie to the helmet-like machine that cut their hairAlthough it’s not 2062 yet, autonomous tech is already working its way out of the research lab to help us with everyday tasks.

Here are three examples that might make you think The Jetsons wasn’t so far-fetched after all.

Watering your lawn

exilong autonomous watering lawn

Traditional lawn sprinklers put the ‘lazy’ back in those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. But with the Exilong autonomous irrigation system, you can do a complete mic drop on your garden hose forever.

It’s made by Tevatronic, which calls it “the first system that can analyze data straight from the roots and use it to autonomously take care of your plants.” Sensors measure soil moisture, water consumption and even the length of grass roots (yes, really) as they grow.

Algorithms and analytics determine the perfect amount of water needed for your thirsty lawn, automated valves turn the water on and off, and you can monitor or adjust it with a smartphone app. Here’s a figure that might make this product grow on you — in testing, Exilong cut water usage by 30 per cent.

Buying your groceries

DASH shopping cart

There’s a good reason many people shop at the same grocery store every week – it’s quicker and easier when you already know the layout of the store. Here comes the DASH robotic shopping cart, designed to get you through any store in record time, even if you’ve never set foot in there before.

Dash robotic grocery cart autonomous

First, transfer your shopping list from your smartphone to the robotic cart. Then let the DASH cart map out the fastest route to each item on your list, zooming through the aisles to find them for you. Once you’re done, you can scan and pay for your goodies with the cart itself, avoiding checkout lineups.

DASH, which is being tested by Walmart, follows you to your car, waits while you unload your items and automatically returns to its in-store docking station (without awkwardly waiting around for a tip).

3D printing stuff anywhere

Muppette autonomous 3D printing hover

Despite its cutesy name, the MUPPette has lofty ambitions, literally. The first four letters in that name stand for Mobile Unmanned Printing Platform, an apt description of this drone that lets you 3D print stuff on the fly.

This thing is blinged out with a laser rangefinder for constant altitude control and redundant GPS sensors to help it accurately hover mid-air in the desired location. It’s all mounted atop a hexacopter drone.

Global design giant Gensler produced the MUPPette prototype as part of a three-year research project. The company envisions using it for rescue, humanitarian or construction purposes in remote or dangerous environments, like creating flood barriers or making temporary relief shelters.

Busting the bad guys

Anbot autonomous police robot

Chinese military researchers have developed Anbot, a robot police officer whose cone-like shape is far more reminiscent of a Renuzit air freshener than a futuristic RoboCop.

According to Popular Science, Anbot has an eight-hour battery life and boasts autonomous navigation and recharging systems. Its A/V sensors can be programmed to recognize (and record) illegal activities and wanted criminals.

However, since most humans run at 15 miles per hour, Anbot’s top speed of 11 miles per hour makes it better suited for crowd control than chasing down fleet-footed perps.

Anbot also comes with an electroshock weapon likened to a stun gun or cattle prod (Yikes!). But my money’s still on Rosie. She managed to keep George, Jane, Judy and Elroy Jetson in line in the year 2062, armed with nothing but a feather duster.

Up next: Learn about the latest "Internet of Things" devices in Amazing Internet-connected devices hitting the market

Amazing Internet-connected devices hitting the market

Featured image via

Christine Wong

Christine Wong is a journalist based in Toronto who has covered a wide range of startups and technology issues. A former staff writer with, she has also worked as a reporter for the Canadian Economic Press and in broadcast roles at SliceTV and the CBC.

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