Earlier this year, eBay launched the Innovation Lab that put more than 3,000 participants in touch with some of the most promising products they sell online. Emerging from that experiment is some new information about how much we’re falling in love with robots. Personally I’m not a betting man, but eBay has their money on robots to be one of the hottest gifts this Christmas.
There’s a common miss conception about the role of a futurist, with some assuming they’re crystal balling it, when in reality, they’re much closer to scientific researchers that look at data to make accurate predictions. Chris Riddell is one such futurist who looked at eBay’s data from the Innovation Lab and is confident robot technology across Australia is about to explode. Among other popular categories in Australia, was new technology such as holograms, virtual reality and 3D printing.
“The eBay Innovation Lab results sit hand in hand with the robotic automation movement that is happening right now, we are on the verge of a new era, our home and work lives are increasingly becoming infiltrated with gadgets and gizmos created to make our lives easier. The results point to a marked shift in what we expect from our machines. We’re still a long way from the ‘robot housemaid’ that I Robot author, Isaac Asimov predicted in his 1964 New York Times essay would be available by now. He also said “Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they will be in existence”.
“As we head into 2016 I’d have to argue he was wrong – robots are already here and they are much more useful. Automatic car washes, Vending Machines, ATMs, packing machines in factories, and automatic vacuum cleaners, they’re all robots. Driverless cars are literally around the corner and are going to become mainstream very soon too. They’re just machines, designed to perform a super valuable function and help us with everyday tasks. The reactions and interactions from the eBay Innovation Lab show us we’re not only ready for it, but we’re embracing the many ways these machines are taking shape”.
eBay has seen a 200% rise in robots bought over the last 12 months with the cute little Wowee MiP being the most interacted and engaged with product. MiP is a robot friend that features technology like GestureSense that reacts to human interactions. Using its free app, consumers can drive it, play games & more all while MiP balances on two wheels and features the ability to self-balance another MiP on top.
eBay predicts the following to be three of the top gifts for Christmas:
- Robots – eBay has seen a 200% rise in robots bought over the last 12 months
- Virtual Reality – eBay has a seen sales increase by 523% in the last 12 months
- Hoverboards – Australians are spending 800% more this year on hoverboards and electric scooters