Home robots are a budding technology, so expect much of these personal, intelligent, and mobile robots to be unveiled throughout the year. Mayfield Robotics is a California-based startup backed by appliance company Bosch, and its approach to robots for the home is a bit different than iRobot or Amazon. Rather than a robot vacuum or a stationary voice assistant, Mayfield Robotics’ Kuri is a mobile robot built with personality and awareness. It spans 20 inches tall and weighs 14 pounds, so it’s somewhat close to a real-life R2-D2.
The startup unveiled Kuri at CES on Tuesday, and although I haven’t witnessed a demo, I’m pretty confident in this little bot that costs $699, comparable to a Roomba. It doesn’t vacuum your floors or squeegee your windows, but Kuri will keep you company like a robot companion should. It’ll follow you around the house using a slew of sensors, keep tabs on your home with its camera, and blast NPR through internal speakers.
The primary home robots of today (intelligent ones at least) include Amazon Echo and Google Home. These devices can do most of what Kuri does, but they’re immobile and not-so-endearing. They lack human qualities in their form and function, appearing machine-like and falling short of any emotional connection with their users. Mayfield Robotics wants to solve this with Kuri.
“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 COO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics, Sarah Osentoski. “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.”
Most notably, Kuri can play music, read kids bedtime stories, and follow you around and play podcasts as you get ready for work. Various sensors keep the robot aware of its environment, you don’t have to move furniture out of the way or block off the stairs. Kuri also connects to third-party applications such as IFTTT, allowing you to connect it to various smart home devices.
Behind Kuri’s cutesy design is capable hardware. The robot packs a 1080p camera, a 4-microphone array, a pair of speakers, and various sensors for interacting with users and getting around the house. Capacitive touch sensors detect touch atop Kuri’s head, so it’ll beep and boop when pet. When the robot is worn out, it’ll automatically return to its charging pad for more juice. Best of all, it’s eyes (with cameras behind) blink.
“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, CTO 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.”
For now, Kuri is available for pre-order through Mayfield Robotics’ website. iOS and Android apps are in the works; Kuri is expected to ship to early adopters this holiday season.
Source: Mayfield Robotics