One of the biggest tech hits of 2016 was a talking kitchen speaker from Amazon that could play music, tell you the time and weather, and buy things online for you.
So should it be a surprise that the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week will showcase many sons and daughters of Alexa?
The twist? New robots on display at the world’s largest trade show in 2017 will have legs and virtual eyes, move around the house, and perhaps have even more smarts than Alexa, which sold out at Christmas.
Robots are expected to be a huge trend at CES, which kicks off Tuesday with more than 25 exhibitors showcasing home personal assistants. (The trade show floor opens Thursday, but the action begins earlier.)
“You’re seeing a lot of companies taking advantage of the technologies that have been made cheaper by smartphones and video games,” says Kaijen Hsiao, chief technology officer for Mayfield Robotics, which will debut a new home robot at CES.
Society has come a long way from Rosie, the personal robot in the 1960s era sci-fi cartoon The Jetsons.
“We can now finally have the robots of our dreams,” Hsiao says.
What the companies look to improve upon Alexa is “bringing personality” to the robot, says Steve Crowe, managing editor for news site Robotics Trends. “Part of the problem in-home robots have is that people don’t get attached to them because there’s no personal connection.”
Look for robots in all shapes and sizes at CES–even tech giant LG will have one at CES as well.
Companies come to the show to make a splash with investors, the press and other customers. Some make it, most won’t, but perhaps a handful of these robots will show up sometime in 2017 at a store near you.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Jefferson Graham