Think of it as Fashion Week for robots. As robots continue their journey towards more intelligent, human-like behavior, they show off their individual sense of style. Here are 10 head-turning robots that do everything from entertain, to vacuum, from propel a paralyzed human, to navigating places where no humans would dare to tread.
Comedic, heart-wrenching, utilitarian and filled with attitude, these robots will change the way we do just about everything.
QB from AnyBots
QB from AnyBots is a remotely controlled, self-balancing, virtual presence robot. It'll represent you and let you 'go' places and interact when you can't physically attend. For example, a child under medical treatment could use QB to attend classes. Or a manager could inspect a factory from a remote office.
UBR-1 is a working man's robot. It's designed to help with everyday tasks in factories, warehouses, supermarkets and even elder-care facilities. It's a great fetcher and placer.
Keecker is a lifestyle robot, working in your home to provide entertainment and communications. With Keecker, you can use its built-in projector to watch a movie (or surf the web) on any nearby wall, or just immerse yourself in its music offerings. A roving projector/jukebox!
Ekso is a bionic exoskeleton that can enable a paralyzed person to walk. Here, it's being used by Paul Thacker, an X Games record holder who was paralyzed from the chest down in an accident. With Ekso, Paul can stand and has regained the ability to walk. Bionics like these are still in their nascent stage but will continue to play a growing part in rehabilitative therapies.
The Orbotix Sphero 2.0 is a rolling robot ball, designed for play. Controlled by your mobile device, it features downloadable games, and can navigate an obstacle course, or a race course. You can even take it for a swim and they play with each other.
KUBI (which means neck in Japanese) is robotics applied to the conference room. With KUBI, people not in the room, gain a presence. With these remotely controlled iPads on a stick, they can look around, speak, and interact with the local participants in a natural and engaging manner.
Romibo is a remotely controlled, self-balancing social robot designed for learning and sharing. With mobility, speech, gesture and face-tracking, Romibo has what it takes to bring friendship and companionship year round. Besides, who wouldn't love a furry robot?
Double is a remotely controlled teleconference robot. Conversations can happen anytime, anywhere, across town or across the world. Double can be your double when you can't be there in person. And it has no problem traveling from room to room or meeting to meeting.
The Neato is "the world's most evolved robot vacuum." It vacuums any floor surface and any type of dirt, mapping the best course, never repeating its steps and avoiding obstacles in its path. Power, intelligence, and even perhaps charisma, applied to cleaning your floors.
The Parrot Mini Drone and Jumping Sumo are fun robots. They've made robotics an affordable toy to delight and amaze. The new Mini Drone flies, and has programmed acrobatic moves that can be controlled from your smart device. The Jumping Sumo, also controlled by smartphone, jumps as high as two-and-a-half feet, and does mean right angle turns at high speeds.
Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today's digital consumer.