Gomer is a soft-robotics A.I. hoping to bring some cheer to your life

The characterization of robots as cold, unfeeling objects doesn’t seem quite as accurate as it may have a few decades ago — at least, not from a personality perspective. After all, the introduction of artificial intelligence has made some of these bots seem more human, capable of responding to natural language commands and even cracking a joke now and again. But despite these internal shifts in robot functionality, their external appearance still seems a bit, well, robotic. After all, as helpful as your Echo may be, it is more about information than actual physical help. But that may change with the introduction of the Gomer. This “soft robotics-powered hand and friendly A.I. personality” claims to be the first interactive home robot on the market.

Capable of holding and carrying soft objects (like food), recognizing friends, expressing emotions, and even playing games, the Gomer hopes to come closer to fulfilling the role of “friend” in your life, rather than simply your personal assistant. Thanks to its open API, the bot is constantly learning new skills to become even more useful to owners. But perhaps the unique thing about this particular bot is its soft-robotics technology. Gomer is said to be the first time this technology has been made available in homes, and the robot’s flexible grip can pick up anything from a delicate egg to an odd-shaped toothbrush, as well as thin objects like an iPhone.

Gomer’s built-in A.I. system is also said to be able to recognize human expressions and convey a variety of emotions itself. Said to be capable of talk, understand, and learn from humans, this robot becomes more realistic as it gets older. According to the development team, as Gomer continues to interact with its owners, it begins to develop a unique personality.

The bot features a 720p head-mounted camera and is capable of moving upward of 1.5 miles per hour, which means it ought to be able to keep up with a meandering pace. Plus, Gomer has a two-way speaker, allowing you to communicate with the bot even from a distance.

Available as of Tuesday, November 7 on Indiegogo, you can pre-order Gomer for $229. Shipments are currently slated to begin in March.

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