Innovation

CES 2017: Robots of the future

At CES 2017, dozens of companies presented robots they believe will improve life at home, work, and school. Here's a peek at what they can do.

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Image: CNET

By 2018, the International Robotics Foundation predicts that 35 million service robots will be sold. And by 2020, $83 billion will be spent on these robots, according to a report by Intel. So who makes them? What can they do? And when will they be ready? For an insider's report, here's TechRepublic overview of the robots of the future, according to demos from CES 2017 in Las Vegas—and to see what they look like, check out our photo gallery.

1. Kuri

This intelligent, highly-animated home robot comes from Mayfield Robotics. Designed by a former Pixar animator, this 20-inch tall, 14-pound robot has expressive eyes, which have a built-in HD camera that can capture photos and videos, recognize faces, and monitor your home. Kuri also has bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing remote operation, and a high-tech microphone that can let Kuri communicate with members of the household. He also has sensors for detecting objects. He is battery operated, and comes with a charging station. Kuri can be preordered for $100. Cost: $699.

SEE: CES 2017 Special Coverage (CNET) | CES 2017 (TechRepublic) | CES 2017: The Big Trends for Business (ZDNet)

2. Olly

Developed Emotech Inc., a UK startup composed of neuroscientist and machine learning experts, Olly plays music, controls other internet-enabled devices, and gives advice. But even more impressive is this tabletop robot's adaptability—he can recognize different members of the household and adjust his interactions accordingly. Olly will be available later in 2017.

3. Hub

According to Alison DeNisco at TechRepublic, LG's Hub robot is "essentially a digital assistant with a face." Powered with voice-recognition tech from Amazon's Alexa, it is similar to the Amazon Echo, in that it answers questions, turns on music, and checks the weather. But the Hub has the extra capability of connecting to home IoT appliances, like washing machines and vacuum cleaners, and recognizing individual faces for personalized greetings. Hub Robot will be available sometime in 2017, with no reported price tag.

4. Robo Mower

LG also unveiled another robot at CES—and this one is made for outdoor work. The battery-charged Robo Mower, which has the look of a robo-vacuum, is equipped with sensors that it uses to navigate the back yard.

SEE: CES 2017 Robotics panel: 'Are they ready to help?' (CNET)

5. Airbot

Need help navigating the airport? LG's Airbot serves as a guide robot, and will be seen in South Korea's Incheon airport later in 2017.

6. Tertill

This weeding robot is waterproof, made to live outdoors in your garden, and can take out weeds without the use of pesticides. It's solar-powered—no docking station required—and is made by Franklin Robotics, some of the original founders of the Roomba. Tertill is still in development and will launch a crowdfunding campaign in the summer of 2017, for $250-$300.

SEE: Video: The 4 business themes that will dominate CES 2017 (TechRepublic)

7. MODI

These "lego" robots, made by the South Korean company LUXROBO, arrive as a kit of cubes for the easy, DIY assembly of bots—which can function as motors, lights, infrared detectors, and more.

8. Unibot

EvoVac's robot has many functions: It can be a vacuum cleaner, mobile home security camera, and even an air purifier/humidifier. More information will be available on May 20, 2017.

9. Aristotle

Aristotle is a child-friendly bot made by Nabi, a division of Mattel, with an Alexa-enabled speaker as a built-in assistant. It can play bedtime lullabies, as well as respond to kids' questions—which are usually quite different from the ones adults ask. Due in June 2017. Expected cost: $300.

10. MoRo

This is a tiny robot, at under 4 feet tall and weighing nearly 80 pounds—but at $30,000 a unit, it does not carry a small price tag. MoRo can lift objects and deliver them to you—including the refrigerator, for example—after you give it the instruction to do so. The arms can carry heavy objects weighing more than 5KG, or 11 pounds. MoRo, created by Ewaybot, has up to eight hours of battery life. It's expected to be released in the first half of 2017.

11. Sanbot

Now available in China, Qihan's Sanbot service robot has what it calls a "tri-polar system architecture, comprising the robot, private cloud and the Q-Link mobile application." The bot is currently used across industries ranging from retail to education to healthcare, and costs in the neighborhood of $6,000.

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      About Hope Reese

      Hope Reese is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the intersection of technology and society, examining the people and ideas that transform how we live today.

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