Say hello to Otto, Samsung’s personal assistant robot that could one day help you control your smart home.
Unveiled this week at the company’s developer conference in San Francisco, Otto was used to show off Samsung’s ARTIK platform that forms the basis of its smart-home push. The diminutive bot’s tricks include the ability to respond to voice commands for connected gadgets like lights and thermostats. It’ll also do things such as answer questions, play music, and tell you the latest news.
Yes, it does sound a lot like Amazon’s Echo speaker-cum-virtual-assistant, doesn’t it.
Unlike Echo, however, Otto has a “face” that houses an HD camera, a feature likely to send a chill down the spine of any privacy-conscious folks who’ve only just come to terms with the idea of Echo’s “always on” microphone.
But rather than a faraway hacker using the camera to monitor your every move inside your own home, its intended function is as a security camera so you can check no one’s burglarizing your house when you’re not there, or simply make sure your hyperactive dog isn’t wrecking the joint when you’re out enjoying yourself with friends.
Facial recognition technology also means Otto has the capacity to remember a user’s individual preferences, helping it to respond more efficiently to various requests and inquiries.
As noted by Engadget, Otto can move its head about too, enabling it to nod and shake in response to yes-or-no questions. That maneuverability of course also gives you more control when checking in remotely, allowing you to turn the camera in multiple directions to catch sight of that intruder you’re convinced is just out of shot.
Besides a camera, Otto’s face also incorporates a digital display for showing off various facial expressions, making the experience more interactive than what you get with Echo. The display can also convey things like weather conditions, with water drops depicting rain, and a sun indicating….er….sunny conditions.
If Otto sounds like the kind of personal assistant robot you’ve been waiting for, then we’re sorry to say the wait’s not actually over. Samsung’s creation is merely a prototype at this stage, though considering its purpose, and the company’s continued push into the Internet of Things, it’s possible Otto, or a more advanced descendant, will one day be offered to consumers as a way of controlling a connected home.