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  • CES 2015: The robots moving in to your house

  • The modern family is getting a new member.

  • More than a dozen firms are promoting new kinds of home robots at this year's Consumer

  • Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

  • None are the human-like automatons of science-fiction. But they do point the way towards how domestic

  • bots might evolve beyond the robo-vacuum.

  • South Korea's Furo-i Home is one of the more advanced examples.

  • It's a sleek-looking sensor-laden cone on wheels topped by a tablet that displays a

  • friendly-looking animated droid's face.

  • You can verbally instruct it to take control of internet-controlled smart devices - telling

  • it to turn lights, music and heating on or off - use it as a teaching aid for your children,

  • or take advantage of its health check software to help care for elderly relations.

  • "The robot has many sensors, facial recognition and can detect the temperature," explains

  • Se-Kyong Song, chief executive of its maker Futurebot.

  • "You can set it to wake up an elderly parent, remind them to take their medicine, eat breakfast

  • and follow the rest of a schedule.

  • "And if something unexpected happens, it can send a message to the family saying there

  • might be a problem and then let them talk to their parent via video chat to ask if they

  • are OK."

  • The machine is set to cost about $1,000 (£660) and Futurebot hopes to make and sell about

  • 10,000 before the year's end.

  • Those looking for a cheaper alternative might be interested in Ukrainian start-up Branto,

  • which has just announced a crowdfunding campaign for a robotic sphere priced at $399.

  • Although it lacks a screen of its own, it promises broadly similar functions, including

  • the ability to send you a notification if its motion sensor is triggered when your house

  • is supposed to be empty.

  • There is one important caveat - at present the prototype's battery only lasts for about

  • three hours before it stops providing most functions.

  • "We are trying to make it longer, but the device is very small and we want to keep it

  • looking nice," says Alexandra Barsukova, the start-up's business development director.

  • Most of the other robots at CES are focused on doing a more limited set of tasks - and

  • that may be a wise strategy suggests Casey Nobile from the Robotics Trends news site.

  • "It's very hard to make a robot do everything, like in the Jetsons analogy that everyone

  • likes to refer to," she explains.

  • "You're going to see advances in robots controlling other smart home tech via software before

  • you see something like a machine with an arm that makes you coffee and delivers it to your

  • bedroom, just because of the limitations with manipulation technology and the issues with

  • battery life."

  • Droplet is one example of a more specialist robot.

  • The machine is an internet-connected sprinkler that can be set to propel different amounts

  • of water to different plants in its surrounding area.

  • "We can accurately target two plants less than 6in [15cm] away from each other and give

  • them very different amounts of water," explains Steve Fernholz, the firm's founder.

  • "And we take into account weather data, so if there's an 80% chance of a thunderstorm

  • tonight it'll delay and wait to see if the rain actually falls."

  • He believes most people will be more comfortable with such a device at this stage rather than

  • an automaton wandering through their home.

  • "It's not about when the technology is ready, it's when consumers feel comfortable enough

  • about having a robot in their home. It's a very personal space.

  • "That's why even with Droplet we tried to make it look inviting - not something you

  • would feel apprehensive going up to or might give you anxiety."

CES 2015: The robots moving in to your house

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CES 2015 The Robots Moving In To Your House - Robots Take Over Las Vegas (CES 2015 The Robots Moving In To Your House - Robots Take Over Las Vegas)

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    Peter Yang に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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