Ever since Czech writer Karel Čapek proposed the idea in 1920, people have dreamed about owning a robot that can make domestic life easier.
Yet nearly a century later, we’re still managing our homes without assistance from humanoid agents.
But, as Amazon aims to colonise our living rooms with its voice-activated Echo speaker, Chinese inventors are devising a robot assistant that bears a closer resemblance to our original imaginings.
In the guise of a pared back R2-D2, NXROBO’s BIG-i is the first truly personalised family robot, according to CEO Dr Tin Lun Lam.
“The environment and the family members are different in every family, so we’ve designed a robot with high flexibility,” Dr Lam said in a Reuters interview. “Every function is decided by the users.”
BIG-i can identify people using facial recognition, providing the means to carry out instructions tailored to different members of the family.
The self-navigating robot can also control your smart appliances, turning on automated hoovers, dimming lights and closing blinds on request.
The NXROBO team have raised more than $127,000 (£97,679) on Kickstarter to build the device, smashing their $100,000 (£76,892) target.
The BIG-i team is gearing up to start delivering the devices in April next year.