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article image'Cute' robots have invaded CES 2018 and they are a big hit

By Karen Graham     Jan 11, 2018 in Technology
It's a given that visitors to the Consumer Electronics Show will see robots - from robots that clean your floors to those who can help out around the home. But this year at CES 2018, there are a few surprises that have grabbed everyone's attention.
To say the least, there are a few "old favorites," like that cute robotic dog from Sony, or R2-D2, and Buddy, the creation of Blue Frog Robotics - But there are some exceptionally clever new robots that will definitely change the way we run our homes and lives. Let's look at a few of the robots being shown-off this year.
Blue Frog Robotics' "Buddy"
With headquarters in Paris, France, and two offices in the U.S., Blue Frog is the developer of Buddy, the companion robot. Not only is Buddy a cute little guy, but he has a wide array of things he can do, not only as a companion but as a home security device, personal assistant, educator for your children, and as a smart home hub, much like other voice-activated devices.
Meet Buddy  the ultimate home companion.
Meet Buddy, the ultimate home companion.
Blue Frog Robotics
Blue Frog made an important business decision when they choose to open their robot architecture and use Unity3D IDE as a foundation, so anyone interested in developing applications for robots could get started right away. Today, all of the major components of the Buddy robot are open source.
In October 2017, Buddy was chosen as a CES 2018 Best of Innovation Awards Nominee at CES UNVEILED in Paris by the Consumer Electronics Association (CTA). The ‘Best of Innovation’ title reflects innovative design and engineering in some of the most cutting-edge tech products and services coming to market.
Has Rosie the robot finally arrived with Aeolus?
Remember the Jetson's robot, Rosie? This robot sure looks like Rosie, and it can do a whole lot Rosie could do. Aeolos has developed their prototype mobile robot with a dexterous arm, which can clutch a vacuum and recognize and pick up objects.
File photo: Has Rosie the robot finally arrived with Aeolus?
File photo: Has Rosie the robot finally arrived with Aeolus?
© Aeolus
This makes it one of the first home robots we've seen with dexterity. It responds to all the usual commands we associate with smaller tabletop personal assistants, and it's got Amazon's Alexa onboard. Actually, the arms are extendable and interchangeable, allowing the robots to vacuum, mop, put away dishes, move furniture and much more.
The robots can integrate with most home technology systems including Alexa, Google Home and more. Plus, use the app to monitor and see everything the robot saw. And smart? Yes, they are.
Cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence technology means these robots can clean your home by themselves. They’ll be constantly learning to recognize people and, take on new tasks and can remember where more than 1,000 household items last were and should be.
LG adds three more robots to the CLOi family
New this year at CES 2018 are the Serving Robot, Porter Robot, and Shopping Cart Robot, "developed for commercial use at hotels, airports, and supermarkets." This is a slick move by South Korea-based LG, seeing as the Winter Olympics are almost here.
CLOi  the robot with stage fright  but it is cute.
CLOi, the robot with stage fright, but it is cute.
LG
However, LG ended up red-faced during the opening of CES 2018 when little CLOi got stage fright and refused to respond to VP of marketing David VanderWaal's requests in front of a live audience. You should be able to talk to CLOi, and the robot gets your washing machine and oven in line - At least that's the idea.
Many reviews see these robots as being expensive, especially where other, lower-priced- robots can do the same job. But IEEE's Spectrum seems to think they were made specifically to be introduced at the Winter Games. So it is a question left hanging in the air as to their commercial success.
Sony's Aibo is back
Sony is known for its innovative technologies, and in this case, they have managed to take Aibo, introduced in 1999, and "teach an old dog new tricks." The original Aibo was just like having an already trained dog, but the new version is different.
For one thing, Aibo has far more artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors baked into it than the previous model, so much so that Sony has developed it around simulating an untrained dog that you have to train yourself through voice commands and positive reinforcement.
The latest generation of the beloved robotic companion  Aibo  features an adorable new appearance  v...
The latest generation of the beloved robotic companion, Aibo, features an adorable new appearance, vibrant movements, and a responsiveness that is sure to delight. Aibo develops its own unique personality through
Sony
Aibo has a series of three sensors and cameras to understand both its environment and your interactions with it, as well as to interact with two accessories: a pink ball, and chew toy to play with. Aibo will be sold for a little less than $2,000 in the US when it launches later this year, FCC approvals permitting. Right now, it is only available in Japan.
Tech Radar thinks the price is a bit expensive but points out that so too, are purebred dogs, and Aibo won't eat your shoes or chew on the end of the couch.
A special New Year's message from Sophie
And if you are wondering how far into the future we already have traveled, meet Sophie, an advanced humanoid robot from Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics. She has been doing the rounds of several tech shows and showed up at CES 2018. No, she is not for sale yet, but will soon be a part of many households.
Sophia is an advanced humanoid robot from Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics.
Sophia is an advanced humanoid robot from Hong Kong company Hanson Robotics.
Hanseon Robotics
Packed with Artificial Intelligence, Sophie is partly powered by Google. She can hold conversations and even give speeches, and as well as answering your questions she'll throw out some of her own - just like a real person, sort of. Just recently, she got a pair of humanoid-like legs and was able to walk fr the first time. Sort of scary, no?
But Sophie also has a message for her ever-growing crowd of followers now that the New Year is here:
More about ces 2018, Robots, Amazon Alexis, R2D2, Artificial intelligence