22/05/2024

The initial session I participated in at this year’s CES was hosted by Nvidia. It established the direction with Nvidia ACE and an array of technologies that are shaping a robotic future which is swiftly manifesting in our present.

Robotic fast-food establishments are already starting to emerge, and at CES this year, exhibitors were showcasing and discussing the initial surge of robots from various vendors, including one aimed to rival the upcoming Tesla robot.

What continues to captivate me is that this wave of robotics was initially unveiled at Dell Tech World. Since then, Dell has undertaken a significant robotic venture, Concept Luna, which was remarkably intriguing but has yet to progress beyond the conceptual phase.

Let’s delve into the realm of robotics this week. Later, we’ll conclude with my Product of the Week: Nvidia’s new competitively priced graphics card, the RTX 4070 Super.

Yarbo

I own a Yarbo, and it’s truly remarkable. This modular yard robot can transform from an autonomous snow blower (the version I have) to an autonomous lawn care robot. It utilizes a gaming controller to map out the designated areas, boasts a sizable battery, and excels at various snow and lawn care duties, such as spreading liquid or granular pesticides or fertilizers.

What sets it apart is its track-driven design, which makes observing its operations a captivating experience. Additionally, it’s equipped with a power docking station, ensuring it’s always prepared for the next task.

Ecovacs Deebot X2 Combo

The Ecovacs Deebot X2 presents a unique fusion of a robotic vacuum and a handheld stick vacuum. What sets it apart is its advanced AI and square design, optimizing its ability to reach corners effectively. The Deebot X2 seamlessly incorporates traditional vacuum features within its robot base and even includes a hot water mopping function. Notably, it comes with a base where the robot can autonomously empty its dirt bin and replenish its supplies.

The version showcased at CES also included a stick vacuum accessory, enhancing its versatility by reaching areas such as stairs that the robotic vacuum alone couldn’t access. Priced at approximately $1,700, this vacuum may not be inexpensive, but its capabilities appear to surpass any robotic vacuum I’ve encountered or tested thus far.

Samsung Ballie

The Samsung Ballie made its debut in 2020, and since then, it has undergone updates to enhance its capabilities, including managing Samsung home appliances and projecting videos. This innovative device represents just one of the many AI-driven mobile digital assistants anticipated to emerge over the coming years as the market explores the evolving preferences and needs of users in this realm.

If I had a large dog that enjoyed playing fetch, I might hesitate to get the Samsung Ballie, as I imagine it could easily become a chew toy. Nevertheless, as it navigates around the house, it provides video updates on its surroundings and assists with various home activities, including exercise routines. This device learns from user interactions over time and serves as one of the pioneering examples of how AI technology in the home is beginning to enter the market.

Parkie

Although Parkie seems primarily tailored for parking structures or lots, I believe it could also prove incredibly useful for individuals with extremely cramped garages. Resembling a large skateboard, this device slides beneath the car, elevates it, and maneuvers the vehicle to an available spot, essentially functioning as a robotic parking attendant.

Implementing Level 4 autonomous driving technology, while seemingly excessive since it doesn’t require navigating city streets or highways, could indeed be a smart strategy for minimizing vehicle damage in confined spaces. Exploring the possibility of adapting this technology to work with an enclosed car trailer could be particularly beneficial, especially considering the frequent occurrences of show cars sustaining damage during loading and unloading processes. Overall, it sounds like a fascinating robot that would be incredibly handy for personal garage use.

Shadecraft Sunflower

The Shadecraft Sunflower sounds like the perfect solution for addressing the shade issues in your front yard. This innovative robotic umbrella tracks the sun’s movement and adjusts its position accordingly, ensuring you remain protected from harmful UV rays and avoiding unexpected sunburns. If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of falling asleep outside only to wake up with a painful sunburn due to the shifting sun, the Sunflower could definitely provide a welcome remedy to that problem.

The Shadecraft Sunflower not only offers practical shade solutions but also includes a built-in entertainment system, allowing you to enjoy music, podcasts, or audiobooks while unwinding outdoors. Despite its initial release in 2018, it garnered renewed attention at CES this year, emerging as one of the standout success stories. It’s understandable how you might have overlooked it initially, but now that it’s caught your attention, it’s certainly a worthy addition to your summer wish list.

Mirokai Robot

The Mirokai Robot, created by the French company Enchanted Tools, stands out as one of the most futuristic robots showcased at CES this year. Remarkably, this robot maintains balance on a ball, enabling swift movement in three directions. Equipped with versatile arms for grasping objects and a face capable of expressing emotions, it is approximately the size of a 12-year-old child, showcasing advanced capabilities in robotics and human interaction.

Inspired by a cartoon character, this robot embodies an impressive blend of functionality and aesthetics, making it a striking addition to any home. Capable of executing complex tasks, it exudes an artistic quality as it rolls about. Undoubtedly, such advanced technology comes with a hefty price tag, but its capabilities make it a standout offering. Enchanted Tools has undoubtedly positioned itself as a company to keep a close eye on, especially considering that this robot surpasses the majority of other innovations showcased at CES in terms of sophistication and advancement.

Moxie Robot

The Moxie Robot is tailored specifically for children, aiming to support home learning. It exemplifies a growing category of AI tools meant to complement the interactions between teachers, parents, and children. Throughout the pandemic, this robot could have served as a vital resource, aiding children in improving their social interactions and mitigating the negative effects of extended shutdowns.

Its primary goal is to assist children in managing their emotions, fostering self-assurance, enhancing communication skills, nurturing relationship-building abilities, promoting creativity, and encouraging problem-solving skills. Suddenly, I find myself considering the necessity of owning one of these robots. While it comes with a price tag of $799, it could be indispensable for families with working parents who seek positive influences on their child’s growth and development.

Loona Companion Robot

Supported by AWS, Loona features complete 3D navigation capabilities and is capable of responding to voice commands, providing interactive experiences for its users. Notably, Loona emerged as a top seller during last Christmas, boasting a convenient charging dock for instant readiness. Its endearing appearance prompts curiosity about its potential interactions with live pets. Additionally, Loona offers remote home viewing capabilities, enabling users to monitor their children and pets. Overall, it appears to offer a delightful and versatile experience.

LG Smart Home AI Agent

The LG digital assistant robot, currently unnamed (which does seem somewhat unusual), boasts a two-legged design intended for seamless integration with LG appliances. Resembling Samsung’s Ballie but with a more overtly robotic appearance, it offers a range of functionalities including home patrolling, remote monitoring of pets and children, and leverages Qualcomm’s RB5 robotic chip for its operations. This initiative is part of LG’s “Zero Labor Home” endeavor, aiming to introduce groundbreaking home automation technologies to households worldwide in the coming years.

Kepler Forerunner Series

The Kepler Forerunner series epitomizes the traditional image of a “robot,” standing at human height with two legs and a humanoid form. Capable of performing tasks at a human level, such as carrying packages, reaching for objects, and offering basic assistance in household chores, this robot primarily targets factory environments. However, its potential extends to aiding individuals with disabilities or the elderly. While likely to come with a significant price tag, its capabilities raise the standard for humanoid robots in its class.

With its complete range of human-like movements, including articulated arms and hands, as well as substantial strength and the ability to navigate stairs due to its two-legged design, the Kepler Forerunner series stands out as one of the most impressive technological innovations showcased at the event this year.

Matic Robot Floor Cleaner

The Matic robot floor cleaner stands out for its exceptional ability to efficiently pick up large amounts of liquid, making it particularly useful for handling spills such as when a child accidentally spills milk on the floor. With its ample storage capacity for both dirt and liquids, this device is well-suited for households with pets and children, especially during times when you may not be at home to address messes promptly.

The Matic boasts one of the most advanced AI navigation systems among robot floor cleaners. While I haven’t confirmed its capability to handle dog waste without spreading it, it’s designed to effectively manage liquid spills without causing further mess. Although its size prevents it from navigating under furniture like other robot vacuums, its superior performance in managing pet messes and spills makes it an optimal choice for households with pets or children in need of robotic vacuuming and mopping.

Artly Barista Bot

The Artly barista bot is poised to potentially grace a Starbucks near you, representing an industrial-grade robotic barista capable of emulating human baristas’ actions, including intricate steamed milk designs.

The surge of robotics into food preparation is evident, driven largely by the ongoing shortage of employees in these industries. Some of the initial fully automated fast-food establishments have already opened their doors. The emergence of robots like the Artly barista bot underscores the potential to create machines capable of executing repetitive tasks, such as food preparation, with heightened consistency and superior overall quality compared to human counterparts. Indeed, this signals a glimpse into the future of fast food.

Wrapping Up

CES this year featured a multitude of robots, evoking memories of the futuristic themes explored in the Robopocalypse book, nearly adapted into a film a decade ago.

Amidst the showcase of innovative technologies, standout advancements were observed in robotic vacuums and mobile digital assistants. However, these developments merely mark the inception of the robotic revolution, further propelled by contributions from companies such as Nvidia and Qualcomm.

As we progress through the decade, it’s foreseeable that robots will become increasingly pervasive in our lives. Let’s hope that this narrative unfolds more favorably than the cautionary tale depicted in the Robopocalypse book.

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