Is this the home robot people have been waiting for?

Jan. 10, 2017
Making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas was Kuri, a "friendly" vision-guided robot designed for the home. 

Making its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 in Las Vegas was Kuri, a "friendly" vision-guided robot designed for the home.

While many robots were introduced at CES, Kuri is an interesting one to me. First, this robot’s design avoids the uncanny valley, as it is much closer to R2D2 than one of those scary—albeit wildly impressive—DARPA humanoid robots. Mayfield Robotics, a Bosch startup company, built the robot to be "friendly," and is "built to connect with you and help bring technology to life." The company states that the robot can understand context and surroundings, recognize specific people, and respond to questions with facial expressions, head movements, and unique "lovable" sounds.

In others words, the company designed the robot to have a personality, with the robot providing a "spark of life to any home."

Chris Matthews, Mayfield Robotics’ vice president of marketing, told Digital Trends that the company sought out to build a robot that feels less like a piece of technology and more like a "companion."

On top of that, the robot is moderately priced at $699, which is less than the iRobot Roomba 980 robot vacuum.

"For generations, people have dreamed of having their own personal robot in the home, and we’ve been focused on making that dream more of a reality," said Sarah Osentoski, COO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics in a press release. "We’re proud to introduce Kuri to the world and can’t wait to see how he touches the lives of everyone, ranging from parents and children to early technology adopters."

The 20 in. tall, 12 in. wide home robot features asynchronous motors, a capacitive touch sensor, microphones, speakers, and an HD camera for navigation. It also has various sensors that enables it to map and detect edges and objects for orientation and navigation, as well a 4-microphone array, dual speakers, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Additionally, Kuri has a built-in LED to indicate its current state of mood, as well as hours of battery life. When it is time to charge, the robot navigates back to the charging dock itself.

"While insanely cute on the outside, Kuri contains serious technologies on the inside that represent the latest developments in smartphones, gaming, and robotics," said Kaijen Hsiao, CTO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics. "We hope Kuri introduces people — especially kids — to the power of technology and can inspire a new world of possibilities for their future.

Is Kuri the home robot that we've all been waiting for? It very well could be. It does stand to reason that Kuri could be a logical next progression in the development of the "smart home," as products like Amazon Echo and Google Home gain popularity. Time will tell though, as Mayfield Robotics plan to ship the first robots out for the holiday season in 2017.

View more information on the Kuri robot.

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About the Author

James Carroll

Since joining the team 2013, James covered machine vision and imaging from numerous angles, including application stories, industry news, market updates, and new products. In addition to writing and editing articles for each issue of the magazine, James managed the Innovators Awards program and webcasts.

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