Many of us grew up watching the incredible potential of robots in movies and television. Robots showed us the brightest of the future.
However, we haven’t really seen the true potential of robotic technology being unleashed. While the popular TV cartoon show, Jetsons from the 60’s showed us the infinite possibilities of humans and robots co-existing, movies like the Terminator or Wall-E scared us by showing the prospective dark side of Artificial Intelligence and technology.
But the age where robots finally coexist with human beings is not really far. Here we look at the 15 small robots that will probably invade your home sooner than you think.
1. Jibo: The Social Robot with a Witty Sense of Humour
Jibo is a cute little social robot with a ‘personality’ which can easily become a family’s best friend. It is packed with a witty sense of humor, cheerful animations and a body that swivels and dances, making it the perfect companion robot.
It is crowdfunded and created by Boston based start-up by the same name. The design elements used allows it to easily and naturally connect with its human owners.
The camera and microphones allow it to learn the voices and faces of up to 16 people. And it specifically recognizes the voices of family members talking to it and responds to the call of “Hey Jibo”.
It can perform a number of handy tasks from setting an alarm, taking pictures, telling you the weather and even answering your quirky questions. It is also compatible with IFTTT triggers and can turn Philips hue lights on or off and adjust your Nest Thermostat.
Jibo currently sells in the market for around $900.
2. Mykie: The Kitchen Assistant Robot
‘My Kitchen Elf’ or Mykie is a concept personal kitchen assistant from Bosch which could invade your home soon. It works on the similar grounds such as Alexa from Amazon or Google Home.
But this robotic sous-chef comes with a bit of a culinary pedigree. Whether you are an experienced cook or just a beginner, Mykie can be a handy companion to have at the kitchen counter.
It can plan your meal by connecting to a network of home appliances. For example, it helps you find recipes with just the ingredients available in the fridge.
Also, the built-in projector helps project recipes right into the walls of the kitchen or even show videos by simply using the voice activation or the touchscreen. It makes cooking an interactive affair by connecting with your family and friends worldwide through an integrated camera.
3. Professor Einstein: The Miniature Robot Genius
This tongue-in-cheek version of miniature Einstein offers a familiar face in the companion robot category. This home robot is also just as smart and can be a great teacher as well as a companion.
It uses the company’s cloud-based database to answer various questions while connected to the internet. The ‘Genius’ robot can more than keep a conversation going by maintaining eye contact and over 50 facial expressions to offer.
Users can also learn science and play “brain games” by connecting to the Stein-O- Matic app. This Einstein could easily be a part of your home for a price of around $200.
4. Leka: A smart Toy for Children with Developmental Disorders
Sharing an uncanny resemblance with BB-8 from the Star Wars, Leka is a spherical smart toy from the French start-up of the same name. A lot of the techs of today are more often than not just gimmicks that fail to serve a purpose.
But, Leka stands out from the crowd and offers the first robotic interactive smart toy designed specifically for children with special needs. In short, Autism is like an imaginary wall between a child and the outside world which makes simple daily interactions and tasks difficult.
Leka acts as a mediator which motivates the child to play with the parents or the teacher. It was specifically designed to stimulate the child’s senses and develop their motor skills by moving around, making sounds and vibrating.
Basically, it is an interaction aid which can function as a toy as well. This small robot is not available currently and should retail around $700-800 upon release.
5. Aeolus: The 2018 Version of Rosie the Robot
Imagine a robot on wheels that can grab a can of coke from the fridge on command, Aeolus Robotics has come up with a working prototype household robot which can do just that for you. ‘Aeolus’ is a modern version of Rosie the Robot from the classic Jetsons.
This home assistant is designed to make your life easier by doing your chores while you are asleep or even serving you a drink after a long day at work. It is powered by an AI and uses machine learning to recognize items from various angles and distances.
It uses 2D and 3D camera sensors inside to map out the room and map out what it needs to do. So it can perform cleaning tasks like vacuuming, sweeping, mopping or even just tidying up. It even remembers where household items should be and helps put them back in their place.
Though it is still a prototype, the company cryptically revealed that the price would be less than an overseas vacation for a family and could be a possibility by the year-end.
6. Kuri: A Security Robot with a Personality
An adorable small robot that looks much like a Pixar character, Kuri is a home robot that can watch over your kids like a nanny and even watch your place while you are away. Not to be mistaken for a vacuum cleaner like a Roomba, its features are a basic mix of companionship, entertainment, and utility.
Mayfield Robotics, a start-up based in San Francisco envisioned creating an adorable home robot that could add a spark to your home life. Though it can’t perform household tasks, it can easily watch over your kids or house through the 1080p camera.
It plays music, podcast or read e-books or it can remind you to turn off the oven while conveying cute and adorable expressions at the same time.
Kuri is up for pre-order on their website for a price of $899.
7. Olly: The Robot with Feelings
Emotech calls it the ‘Robot with a Feeling.’ Olly is the first robot assistant which is said to have an evolving personality.
This home assistant learns all your habits and preferences, likes and dislikes and responds according to a user’s personality. The machine learning allows Olly to pick up information from normal day to day interactions which helps create a better understanding of the user.
It is also proactive, meaning it anticipates your needs and then offers suggestions based on that. It also knows where you are in the room, so it is able to perfectly direct audio to your best liking.
And they say that two Olly’s are not the same because the AI system and character engine creates a unique personality for every Olly. It is available for pre-order on IndieGoGo for $549.
8. Aido: A Smart Home Robot
You could easily confuse Aido for Wall-E’s girlfriend Eve and it’s not just perfect for kids but everyone in the household. Aido is a unique mobile robot which balances itself on a ball that can maneuver around complex spaces like furniture and other minor obstacles in the house.
This family robot was also designed to make its interaction with human beings as natural and intuitive as possible. It can perform tasks like performing household tasks, playing with kids, keeping your home safe and even handling your schedule.
Ingen Dynamic Inc.’s Aido is on IndieGoGo for a pre-order amount of $499.
9. ElliQ: An Active Aging Companion
ElliQ is a proactive social robot that’s built and designed by Intuition Robotics for older adults. It tries to overcome the digital divide that exists for the older generations.
The connected picture frame makes connecting with families an easy task and even messaging, sharing pictures and video chatting. It helps older people get value from the internet without mastering the tools whether proactively or reactively.
It also helps them remain independent longer by scheduling events like reminders for medication or share wellness information with families. ElliQ comprises two elements, a connected picture frame which is a tablet that is removable and a swiveling head which lights up and moves and actuates in a ‘humanesque’ manner.
The pricing information is not available yet, but it should be launched later in the year.
10. Buddy: A Companion Robot for the Family
Buddy is an open source robot powered by Unity 3D and Android software, but it is also a free range robot that can move around your house. This social robot/home assistant from Blue Frog Robotics can be a great companion for the whole family.
It can recognize you, remind you of things and patrol your house with a beaming smile across its face. Buddy’s security route is pretty advanced because you can have it stand in one spot and watch a location.
Or, you can make him go from waypoint to waypoint to look out for something out of the ordinary. It also claims to connect, protect and interact with each member of the family.
And, with its array of sensors and autonomous maneuverability, Buddy is able to do anything from detecting fire and burglars to playing hide and seek.
It is also available for a pre-order price of $699.
11. Pico: A Desktop Companion Robot from Panasonic
Panasonic’s Pico is an evolution of AI and an adorable robot helper that will live in the homes of the future. It is an intelligent desktop robotic assistant that can perform tasks like voice control and interaction, independently move around the desktop and even project movies.
It includes a series of infrared sensors that can detect ledges and obstacles. The AI behind Pico can handle natural language processing and can communicate with devices in other locations as well.
It is said to have human-like movements and skills and is equipped with WiFi to access cloud data. It also comes with a wireless charging station, but the model is still a concept and could soon be a part of your office or desktop.
12. Zenbo: A Smart Little Companion
Zenbo, the robotic personal assistant developed by Asus is as large as a vacuum cleaner with a LED display head and complete with a lifelike face. The smart home robot is able to move independently and can respond to voice commands which allow you to even strike up conversations with it.
The robotic home assistant performs the usual functions including setting reminders, playing music and even making calls. But Asus calls Zenbo as much more of a companion which can read stories with an interactive display to young children and help them sleep at night.
It can even provide company to the elderly, reminding them about medications and notifying families in cases of emergencies. The company intends to release at a price of $599 soon.
13. Pillo: A Robot that Cares for Your Health
Pills have become a part of everyone’s life today, both young and old whether it is for allergies, long-term medication or just health supplements and vitamins for staying healthy. But remembering when to take these pills can be a painful task.
That is where Pillo comes in. Pillo is a health-based home robot that dispenses your pills and also offers medical advice. It uses facial recognition to identify various individuals in the household and dispense proper pills for each member at the correct time.
It can connect with your doctor or pair with your smartphones and tablets to set-up reminders and answer your health queries. The pill-pooping robot could be available for an expected retail price of $599.
14. Aibo: A Man’s Best Robot Friend
Sony is ready to unleash man’s best robot friend again, the super-cute Aibo robot dog. The previous version of the Aibo robot dog was launched nearly 18 years ago but discontinued in 2006.
The old dog has since learned new tricks and the new model reacts to your voice commands and responds to petting. It can also play with toys like the special bone, and to complement its cuteness, it has blinking OLED eyes.
There is an app that helps it learn new tricks and where you can access photos taken by the dog as well. The cameras and built-in sensors also help the dog learn locations and map out rooms.
It has AI which develops a unique personality over time by collecting data on an owner’s reaction, so no two Aibo’s are the same. It sells in Japan for a price of 198,000 Yen and should sell in the US for roughly $1800.
15. CX-1: A Robot Luggage that Never Loses Your Sight
No one wants to ever lose their luggage, but what if you have a luggage that won’t lose you. The CX-1 is a self-driving luggage which has camera sensors on it to follow your every step and go where ever you go.
The self-driving technology is able to track the owner through the camera, but if you go out of range, it can still find you with the help of a connected wristband. The camera also has facial recognition which prevents it from following someone else.
And, the four wheel drive moves around at a maximum speed of nearly 7 mph. This carry-on luggage is made by a Chinese company called ForwardX Robotics.
The version shown at the CES is just a demo and company should make the robot available sometime this year.