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Technology

CES 2020: You have to see these robots and artificial humans

CES 2020 has already revealed some startling developments. Each year of the convention brings a myriad of new technological advancements, but few were prepared for what was in store this year compared to the last.

In a change from previous years, security and surveillance tech is all the rage. Whether you’re looking to monitor the perimeter of your home with cameras or flying drones, the future as shown by CES 2020 looks quite a bit more paranoid than the world of today. Tap or click to see this year’s CES surveillance tech.

But for attendees looking to find some familiar CES comforts, domestic robots are back and better than ever. Engineered with the latest smart home and sensory tech, these fresh-faced bots are already proving to be crowd pleasers. In the not-so-distant future, you may even be bringing one of these guys home with you.

Robots on the march

Aside from smart home and surveillance tech, robots are among the biggest attractions in the grown-up playground that is CES 2020. Unlike previous years, many of these bots are integrating technology found in IoT and automation systems to create even more life-like interactions with human users.

Here are just a few of the most notable bots that have been greeting attendees at CES. If the manufacturers behind them play their cards right, a robot-filled future might not be too far off.

GrooveX’s Lovot returns to CES to win hearts and minds

Domestic robots are nothing new, but we think Japanese company GrooveX may have cracked the code to making the perfect digital buddy. Lovot made its initial debut last year at CES 2019, but this year marks the project’s official production model debut.

Lovot is designed to be a lovable robotic friend and domestic assistant that can provide a calming, therapeutic presence to its owners. It’s small, soft and extremely huggable with a core temperature that mimics a small dog’s. Some of the units on display are even wearing little shirts and jackets.

GrooveX imagines Lovot will follow its owners around and help manage their smart home accessories. At the same time, it’ll be happy to hang out, play games and interact. It can even charge itself — but Lovot’s love doesn’t come cheap: Lovot starts at $2776 and requires an $83 monthly update subscription.

Samsung is on the ball with Ballie,

Not to be left behind by Lovot, Samsung is introducing its own brand of personal domestic robot it’s dubbed “Ballie.” Much like BB-8, this small, self-rolling ball robot is also designed to follow its owners around, and can interact with smart home, IoT and mobile devices owned by the user.

Ballie is just one of many Samsung projects to light up CES this year. Tap or click to see the other cool gadgets they brought to the show.

The Neon project lights up CES

But Samsung wasn’t finishing off its keynote with just a little robot. The company has much larger ambitions in the world of AI, and its Neon project shows the unique direction it’s choosing to take.

Unlike our popular conception of artificial intelligence and android-like creations, Neon boasts a palette of “Artificial Humans” that would serve a variety of industrial and social tasks.

Programmed to be as realistic as possible in terms of conversations and speech, these fake people might be who you end up talking to when you call customer support for your Samsung gadgets.

Sony’s AIBO has unfinished business

Make no mistake: Sony’s AIBO has an impressive pedigree in the world of domestic robots. The first model made its debut more than two decades ago, and after multiple successful models, the project was discontinued. Then, in 2018, Sony finally unveiled its 4th generation model to the acclaim of fans and engineers.

What makes AIBO unique is the fact that it takes the form of something most people are already comfortable having in their homes: a dog. Not only that, it’s cute enough to give the Lovot a run for its money. But AIBO, in spite of all its tricks, is still an expensive robotic puppy that feels more like a toy than a tool.

But new updates from Sony aim to change all that. Promotional footage shows the old dog learning some new tricks, like interacting with smart home devices and making life easier for its human owners. Who knows what else it’ll be capable of in the future. Tap or click to take a closer look at AIBO.

Charmin’s Rollbot goes where the sun don’t shine

Of course, we can’t talk about CES 2020 without bringing up the infamous Charmin Rollbot. A product somewhere between a joke and a concept device, this self-stabilizing rolling robot is designed to fetch toilet paper by voice command when you run out. Plus, it looks like the cute bear mascots from Charmin’s branding.

The practical applications beyond its initial purpose aren’t known at the moment. But whatever the case, it’s a strange, very specific invention that has people talking nonstop. Maybe that was the goal all along. Tap or click here to see other hits and misses from CES 2020.

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