The Foldimate came back at CES. It is now official: the manufacturer branded it as a home appliance rather than a commercial robot. The laundry folding robot will hopefully be available in late 2019 at a price tag of around $1000 USD.
Foldimate is able to fold shirts and pants just fine but, don't get your hopes too high yet... It won't fold the nightmare-filled FITTED SHEETS *cue rolling thunder*. Socks, underwears, hoodies and towels are also out of the question but eh, for a first version it ain't that bad!
Source: Watch this giant laundry-folding robot handle a stack of shirts, Dana Wollman, Engadget
In a world where Asimo has been shut down, will Ubtech replace that void in everyone's heart? Walker is a somewhat agile biped companion robot which can bring you drinks from the fridge and help you around the house.
As you can see on the video, Walker can act as a robotic companion which connects to your smart home system. It can then scan your face through your smart doorbell's camera and come open the door for you! The robot doesn't walk fast, can't climb a staircase that is too steep but at least it can draw with a pen using its nimble hands. There's no clear price or release date for this one but I've heard rumors that it will cost as much as a small car. If you're an eccentric millionaire wishing to impress people, this is for you!
Source: UBTECH Shows Off Massive Upgrades to Walker Humanoid Robot, Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum
Now that's a truly smart robot vacuum! There is an integrated camera at the front of the robot which is used to analyze its environment so it can avoid objects left on your floor! The days where you struggled with a robot vacuum being stuck in orphaned socks and messy computer cable management are now over!
It can currently identify some objects like shoes, socks, and cables through its image recognition software and Ecovac strives to improve its capabilities.
Source: Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo 960 has AI so it won’t run over cables, David Ludlow, Trusted Reviews
When the love for delicious freshly baked bread meets robotics, you get the Breadbot. It is fascinating to watch the small-scale industry knead the dough, cook it then sort it like in a vending machine. Although it won't be on the consumer market, it gives us hope of finally having a fully automatic bread maker at home.
It takes about 90 minutes to produce a loaf and can make 10 loaves per hour (so about 235 in total per day!).
Source: CES: The BreadBot, Gadget
Lovot is not practical. It does not clean your house and it certainly won't help you with any task whatsoever. It was made to love and to be loved by you. With a whopping 10+ core CPU, 20+ MCUs and 50+ sensors, Lovot will respond to stimuli from its environment and seek love from the whole house.
It can distinguish humans from objects and ask for cuddles if you interact with it enough. This is due to the learning algorithm the creators included in the software of the Lovot. It rewards cuddles and pleasant sensations which make it ask for more. It is a bit weird, a bit useless but impressive nonetheless. At a price tag of 349,000 Japanese Yen ($3200USD) you better love it!
Source: Japan’s latest home robot isn’t useful — it’s designed to be loved, James Vincent, The Verge
Every appliance nowadays needs to be smart, even your litter box. The iKuddle will send you a notification when your kitty has done its business, then bag it for you! It keeps the litter clean at all time since it features a 30-day battery and won't bag your cat by accident since it relies on sensors to detect the presence of your feline friend.
It comes at a somewhat reasonable price ($299 USD) which is not bad compared to another automatic litter box currently on the market. It also has a slick design, making it look like a fancy litter box rather than an oppressive industrial machine like its counterparts. The company expects to ship its first units in May 2019.
Omron wanted to reach a certain robot-human harmony with the Forpheus. The engineers wanted to make a robot that works with humans to achieve a goal rather than robots working for humans. I think they achieved it through this ping pong machine.
Through image recognition, it scans the player's full posture and the ball location and movement in order to smash the ball with precision. Forpheus can even adapt its play-style and ability level with its deep learning algorithm while judging if the player is a beginner or an adept. In its current state, it can still be beaten but I wonder when robots like these will surpass humans.
Source: Technologies of FORPHEUS, Omron Global
Sunflower Labs showed up this year with a 2-part home security system that works with motion sensors and drones. Once an anomaly has been detected by the "sunflowers", it sends you an alert saying something is wrong on your home grounds.
You will be able to track any anomalies on your phone in real time and decide if you want to release the bee! The bee is a tracking drone which sends its video feed directly to your mobile device. After that, it's your call if you wish to call the cops on the intruder or let the UPS guy deliver your sweet online orders.
Source: Forget security cameras — this drone will watch over your house from the skies, Luke Dormehl, Digital Trends
Continental revealed a groundbreaking way to deliver packages and hopefully, it will replace that pesky delivery guy who keeps throwing my packages around and leaving my electronic components outside in the rain.
It is a driverless vehicle which carries delivery robot dogs and deploys them to bring the packages at your front door. They're a bit creepy and somewhat reminds me of the Metalhead episode in Black Mirror but it should speed up the delivery process in urban areas.
Source: Robot delivery dogs deployed by self-driving cars are coming, Megan Rose Dickey, TechCrunch
I expect to see more and more robots for the consumer market in the following CES events. Newer legal restrictions on drones will make the industry dip and will probably shift to more professional uses, restrict the consumer market. Technologies, which are currently marketed as commercial-only, will be brought to homes at more reasonable prices. The internet of things (IoT) and the increasingly popular IPv6, which allows up to a thousand addresses in a square meter, will allow appliances like dishwashers or toasters to receive firmware updates through Wi-Fi and make them smarter every day.
I can't wait to see what the future has for us.
Picture credit: TechCrunch, TheSpoon, DigitalTrends, Youtube/Ubtech Robotics' channel