The global personal robots market will grow from US $1.16 billion in 2009 to $5.26 billion in 2015, according to a new study by NextGen, an arm of ABI Research.

Growth is good, but then there's some bad news: sales of such robots should decline through 2010 because of the global economic downturn.

Moving on to less gloomy news, the study says that the next phase in the evolution of the personal robots market -- currently dominated by entertainment toy robots and robotics kits and single-task robots like vaccuming and floor-washing bots -- will involve robots partially controlled by users at remote locations.

Yes, that's telepresence robots, which I sort of put down in a previous post. Guess you shouldn't turn to me for forecasts!

From their release:

In the next phase of the market's evolution, robots will be partially controlled by a user at a remote location. Telepresence robots will allow people to interact with family members at another location or to check on pets or second homes. Health personnel will monitor the elderly or infirm remotely, making sure they take their medication on time or guiding them through blood pressure or blood sugar measurements.
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The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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