LAS VEGAS The history of home robotics is littered with the carcasses of unmet promises and potential. It’s 2017 and we’re still not close to having a Rosie the Robot or C-3PO in our homes.
Kuri, the autonomous home robot, might change that.
The 14-pound, 20-inch robot from Mayfield Robotics makes its debut this week at CES in Las Vegas. Theres no complicated touch screen or even an animated face. Instead, the rolling bot has a round head that can look up at you with two simple eyes (it even has plastic eyelids) and a cone-like body with a pair of what appear to be fixed, gray plastic arms.
The appearance is both cute and disarming. No uncanny valley problems here.
However, Kuri may succeed because of the surprising level of intelligence packed inside at what is, for a robot of its kind, a relatively affordable price: $699.
For generations, people have dreamed of having their own personal robot in the home, and weve been focused on making that dream more of a reality, said Sarah Osentoski, COO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics, in a release announcing the new home bot.
Kuri can hear, speak, navigate its own environment and avoid obstacles. It also allows for simple programming through third-party apps like IFTTT. It will ship with free iOS and Android apps.
The robots hearing is powered by a 4-microphone array, which should help it hear commands spoken in a normal tone of voice. Theres also a 1080p camera that you can use to see what Kuri is seeing when youre not home. As a result, Kuri could not only watch your house, but help you keep tabs on stay-at-home pets.
Kuris internal mapping and sensor system helps it navigate your home, but also avoid objects left on the floor and stair cases that it would otherwise fall down. Kuri moves about on a set of wheels that Mayfield claims can handle a wide variety of floor surfaces.
Its also designed to be self-sufficient, finding its charger and docking whenever it runs low on power. Mayfield promises hours of battery life, but does not specify how long Kuri will operate on a charge.
Mayfield designed Kuri to be both an entertainment and utility robot. As a result, it can connect to smart homes and be programmed to perform tasks.
The robot can follow you around your home and use its built-in Bluetooth connectivity and dual speakers to play music or podcasts. It can also read stories to your children.
Kuri sounds like a useful home companion, and Mayfield did an excellent job of highlighting its strengths in a series of promotional videos (especially the one above where Kuri watches as its owner comes home after a big night out on the town).
Unfortunately, the robot only goes on pre-order on Tuesday and will not ship until late this year.
Thats a story weve heard for home robot companion manufacturers before (looking at you Jibo). Then they get delayed and delayed again, usually getting more expensive in the process. Ultimately, they never ship, or ship so long after the initial blush of interest that no one cares.
Lets hope Kuri avoids that fate.
Read more: http://mashable.com/