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Are robot butlers on the horizon?

The use of robots is expanding in business, from store assistants to robotic bartenders
Robots to help around the house becoming more common 01:27

Robots are showing up in hardware stores, hospitals and, soon, they could be a staple in many homes.

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Until now, the robot revolution has mostly transformed the workplace. Amazon has introduced robots to collect orders at its warehouses, while a hardware store in California has one that helps customers find a particular item. Hospitals, too, are starting to roll out robots that disinfect operating rooms.

But so far, robots in the home are mostly limited to science fiction movies and episodes of the Jetsons.

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Peter Allen, professor of computer science at Columbia University, is hoping to change that. In a lab filled with prototypes, he is putting his army of robots through the paces and feels the technology is advanced enough that the first models could in homes within a decade.

"People are going to say 'I want one to fold my laundry, or answer my door, get a me a beer from the fridge, or maybe take the dog for a walk'," Allen told CBS News reporter Kris Van Cleave.

But first robots need to better understand how people communicate, and adapt to changing situations. Allen and his team are trying to teach their robots to think for themselves, as they advance their capabilities from folding clothes to preparing food and other activities.

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