After observing that most Japanese households don't have the space to accommodate a domestic robot, the Toyota Research Institute came up with a novel solution: Why not station the robot overhead?
Their resultant creation:
"…a 'gantry robot' that would descend from an overhead framework to perform tasks such as loading the dishwasher, wiping surfaces, and clearing clutter. By traveling on the ceiling, the robot avoids the problems of navigating household floor clutter and navigating cramped spaces. When not in use, the robot would tuck itself up out of the way. To further investigate this idea, the team has built a laboratory prototype robot that can do all the same tasks as a floor-based mobile robot but with the innovative overhead mobility system."
TRI's latest robotics presentation is a full 40 minutes long and features a host of their solutions. But if you don't have the time to watch all of it, we've isolated the start time of the video below with the three-minute clip showing the ceiling 'bot concept in action: