It feels like people have always had a bit of a sweet spot for the concept of a robot companion. Look at some of the most popular pieces of sci-fi in the last 50 years, and its always the bumbling robot that captures our fascination, rather than any of their organic co-stars. R2-D2, Bender, WALL-E. The list goes on forever.
Today, however, what once felt like alien technology from a galaxy far, far, away, is actually becoming much more of a reality. At Las Vegas’ annual CES conference last week, we were introduced to a home companion robot named Kuri from Mayfield Robotics. The robotic home assistant is designed to follow you around the house and help with tasks, all while exhibiting a unique personality.
“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.”
Kuri is capable of facial and speech recognition and able to notify users when a stranger enters the home.
While Amazon and Google’s respective Alexa and Home products serve as smart home hubs, Kuri was designed to appear lifelike and help with everyday tasks. Kuri stands 20″ tall and weighs 14 pounds, wheeling its way around homes on a set of small electric motors. It boasts a built-in 1080p HD camera to monitor the home, providing surveillance that can be monitored via smartphone or tablet. Kuri is also capable of facial and speech recognition, able to notify users when a stranger enters the home, or greet and transmit alerts about familiar faces, such as children returning home from school.
Its four-microphone set-up, dual speakers, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity allow the bot to send messages to members of the house, and its IFTTT (If this, then that) capabilities can use data from Kuri to control and connect other smart products in the home.
“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, chief technology officer 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,” she added.
Kuri is currently available for pre-order in the US, priced at $699. Mayfield is hoping to ship the robots by late 2017.