Every January, Las Vegas is the theatre of the annual grand mass of the consumer electronics industry during the CES. While every year gives us a glimpse into what could be the future, 2018 was somehow a bit different from the previous editions. This year, robots weren’t just proof-of-concept units or wildly promising prototypes. In 2018, they truly took over the show.
Beloved robots made a return
After discontinuing the Aibo line in 2006, Sony announced in November 2017 that Aibo would return. Saying that people have missed the robotic dog during this 10-years long hiatus is an understatement. The new Aibo melted the hearts of anyone who had the chance to interact with it during CES 2018. The dog robot is now available only in Japan and no plans to commercialize the puppy outside of Japan have been revealed.
The 2018 iteration of the robotic dog
Industry leaders showcased their own takes on robotics
Another proof that robotics are becoming the industry of the future. We saw LG showcasing its CLOi robot as well as its line of concierge robots. While CLOi displayed some bugs, the three concierge robots saved the show from complete failure. Porter Robot will carry hotel guests luggage to their room and also officiate as a check-in and check-out clerk. Shopping Cart Robot which will scan articles when you put them in the cart and act as a cashier too. Last but not least, Serving Robot will deliver food and drinks in restaurants and airport lounges.
Segway introduced its Loomo, an autonomous single-person transportation system. You ride it to the store, load it with your purchases as cargo, and it’ll follow you back home. Segway is bringing its decade of experience building rideable products, making the product both easy and safe to use. Beyond the “cool factor” of the product, it’s a very interesting example of how automation and robotics can go and drastically disrupt a product or a company.
Your future will have more robots than you think
CES 2018 featured so many robotics products that it’s hard to only select a handful. But they all hinted towards the same direction: a future where robots will be a common amenity in all households. We already mentioned LG above, but many other key-players are gearing up for a world full of robots. We can quote the notable examples of Somnox the sleep-helping robot, the Forward CX-1 suitcase which will follow its owner through airports hall. or the FoldiMare which (as its name may have hinted) will fold your laundry for you.
And, of course, we witnessed some crazy robots…
We won’t dive into the details, but (as always) Las Vegas saw its fair share of crazy robotics projects. We can quote here the reports of a club of Robo-strippers, where the dancers are automatas. Except they don’t really look like humans, their head was a CCTV camera, and should be regarded as just another gimmick from their creator, British artist Giles Walker.
We can’t pass over the Prosthesis mega-mech built by Furrion. While many people still associate or foresee mechs as combat machines, Furrion sees them as racing vehicles. Although, with a top speed of only 20mph and a cockpit too small to fit every kind of body shape, Furrion’s plans to broadcast a racing league might not be as fascinating as they’d sound on paper…
Now that the annual mass is over, we’re left to wonder… What is CES2019 going to bring us?