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CES 2017 Devices Blog : Day Two : Robots

by Ville-Petteri Ukonaho | Jan 05, 2017

Analysts from our Emerging Devices Strategies / Wireless Smartphone Strategies / Handset Country Share Tracker / Smartphone Model Tracker services are attending CES 2017, one of the biggest and hottest mobile and electronic trade shows, in Las Vegas, US, this week, from Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th January, 2017.

Our earlier CES 2017 Day One blog can be viewed here.

Companion Robots Take Over Your Home

Companion Robots are one of the main themes/trends of CES 2017. The global sales of service robots is growing at at a steady pace from 2016 to 2022, with the biggest segment being personal service robots. Several companies are introducing personal assistant service robots or educational robots. These are the four main devices identified from the show.

  1. LG announced Hub Robot, a robot that wants to be Your assistant. Hub is stationary and is powered by the same software that powers Alexa. There is a close resemblance to Jibo. Robot is voice controlled and has an animated face with circular eyes to give it personality. The Hub works as an assistant playing music and looking up stuff from the web but also acts as a command and control unit for a number of LG appliances. During its presentation, LG showed the Hub preheating a connected oven, turning on robotic vacuum, and controlling autonomous lawnmower. The Hub comes in two sizes. Larger one is Your main contact point of interaction but the smaller one can be put to a different room to expand the voice interaction capabilities. LG hasn't given details of price or availability of the Hub Robot.

  2. Kuri has been in the works few years and at CES 2017 Mayfield Robotics (Mayfield Robotics is a startup fully owned and funded by Bosch) unveiled the intelligent Kuri robot “an intelligent robot for the home.” Kuri is a personal service robot. Kuri is 50 centimeters tall, weighs just over 6 kilograms, and is “designed with personality, awareness, and mobility”. Kuri is equipped with sophisticated technology. Kuri has capacitive touch sensors that let Kuri respond to touch, camera for surveillance, mechanics for natural gestural movement, four microphones for spatial sound recognition and voice control, chest light describing its “moods”, two powerful speakers for music and sound, array of sensors to map its surroundings as it moves as well as electric motors for movement. Kuri is voice controlled and learns it surroundings. It will charge itself automatically thus being always available. Kuri costs US$699 and preorders have already begun.

  3. iPal from AvatarMind is a humanoid like companion robot. The iPal is intended to serve as a learning and safety companion for children and elderly people. The robot is the size of a small child, about 90 centimeters, and weighs roughly 13 kilograms. The robot has a humanlike face with two eyes but it cannot do facial expressions. It is designed to interact with children and is equipped with latest generation NLP (Natural Language Processing) unit that enables it to react to speech. Artificial Intelligence enables it to learn from experience as it interacts with children. iPal has touch sensors and microphones and dedicated “emotion management system”  that enable it to detect and learn emotions. Robot has an interactive touch display mounted to its chest that can be used for educational purposes or as a video chat monitor.

    iPal is designed for autonomous movement. It has infrared and ultrasound sensors and a camera that enable it to detect obstacles and map its surroundings. Six microphones gives it a spatial sound recognition capabilities. It has 25 motors that give it human-like movement to its arms and neck. Although it has legs it moves on a base that has the battery inside for low center of gravity. iPal is soon available to preorder  and the price is expected to range from US$1500 to US$2000.

  4. Panasonic Robot “Egg” is a companion robot that is basically shaped like an egg. It is roughly 50 centimeters tall and weighs 3.7 kilograms. It has a head that raises from the top once activated. It has some movement and communication skills. To function it needs a WiFi connection that connects it to the artificial intelligence-based natural language processing technology in the cloud. Robot’s specialty is built in projector that can be used for projecting content to the floor or table. Robot has wheels and it can move independently back and forward. Device is voice controlled and it has a childlike voice to interact with.

  5. Emotech Olly “Your Robot With Personality” is a spherical donut-like robot that has some movement but resembles more Google Home or Amazon Echo. The device is fully voice controlled and it responses with speech and lights. It recognizes Your location and can rotate in its base to face You always. Olly has built in learning capabilities as it learns the more You interact with it. The Olly is still in prototype format, but it should be available to buy later this year.

The year 2016 will remain in the history books as the year or service robots. Several robots were introduced to the market and it seems tha as we have entered 2017 the speed is only picking up. More and more robots will be introduced to the markets during upcoming year as companion robots for assistance and educational purposes become popular with improving capabilities. The vast development in the Artificial Intelligence area will give these robots a true conversational capabilities and capabilities to learn from the interactions.

Strategy Analytics has forecast for Service Robots available for our clients at Emerging Device Strategies (EDS) service and we continue monitoring this space with great interest, communicating our findings to our customers.


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