The machines ham it up again: We found the best robots at CES 2017

machines ham best robots ces 2017 ubtech lynx
Brandon Widder/Digital Trends
Ever since Robot B-9 made his appearance in Lost in Space, mankind has dreamed of a fleet of helper-bots to tend to our needs, and more importantly, relieve our day-to-day monotony. At at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, a slew of new innovation was put on parade for our gawking pleasure and as usual, the robots stole the show.

From Wi-Fi enabled autonomous vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers to robotic healthcare workers, the full array of future automated assistance was on display. This next wave of robotic helpers may indeed one day take most of our jobs; however, for the time being, let’s us sit back, relax, and at least enjoy the show as it unfolds. Shall we?

Pepper

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Other than Honda’s remarkable bipedal ASIMO, Pepper from SoftBank Robotics may be the most recognizable robot on earth. Pepper’s creators are marketing the unit as a humanoid helper of sorts.

Pepper recently made its American debut in a series of shopping malls in San Francisco and San Jose, California. Preliminary estimates showed the Peppers assisting up to 500 patrons per day. Pepper has seen its fair share of upgrades over the years and is now fluent in 20 languages.

Honda’s ASIMO may be able to adequately perform a penalty kick or even slowly but surely tend a bar. However at CES 2017, Pepper strutted its stuff and even entertained a few lucky attendees by participating in a rather ironic game of Cards Against Humanity. Your move, ASIMO…

Lynx

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Brandon Widder/Digital Trends

Lynx is humanoid from China-based manufacturer Ubtech Robotics. Unlike the prominent wheel-based models on the market, Lynx has a nimble frame and is more than capable of walking and even cutting a rug on the dance floor. This robot utilizes Alexa integration to fulfill an array of helpful tasks. All of these functions are accessible by simply stating your specific commands.

You can use Lynx in conjunction with Amazon Music and Spotify, and even set up reminders for your busy schedule. So you don’t feel like combing through your cluttered inbox? No worries. Lynx will do the work for you and even read your emails aloud to you.  If taking up yoga is your New Year’s resolution, you’ll certainly enjoy Lynx. Simply ask Lynx about a particular yoga pose and the robot will actually instruct you on correctly positioning yourself.

More coverage.

Kuri

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Kuri, a product from Mayfield Robotics, was designed with three basic ideas in mind: mobility, awareness, and personality. And what a big personality it has. The 20-inch-tall Kuri blinks, glows, and even chirps playfully once the unit is addressed by name. A series of built-in LEDs also change color to let you know what kind of mood it is in at a given time.

A series of wheels on the base of the unit enable it to move about the house with ease. Using a laser-depth precision system, Kuri is able to create and “remember” a digital, room-by-room map of your home down to the millimeter. Kuri is ready to roll once you’ve spoken the wake phrase “Hey, Kuri,” and The robo-companion responds to 12 other voice commands as well. Kuri can also be controlled remotely via the companion Kuri app. As an added bonus, Kuri also doubles as a Bluetooth-connected speaker.

What’s more, the built-in camera can even record and save video. Using this camera, Kuri is engineered to be able to identify individuals it has come in contact with. This allows the robot to perform correlating tasks such as alertingparents when their children are home from school.

More coverage.

Yumii with Cutii

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Brandon Widder/Digital Trends

As life expectancies continue to increase so too does our need to more adequately care for the elderly. Thankfully, a burgeoning field of humanoid bots just may be the answer to perpetually increasing healthcare costs. One of these such manufacturers is a French Startup known as Yumii with Cutii.

This helper bot has been designed specifically for at-home elderly care. The unit can respond to verbal cues and can also assist in an array of daily activities including setting up reminders and assisting with cooking. Yumii with Cutii can also allow individuals to contact members of their families and even make doctor’s appointments. This device can roam completely autonomously around the house or be simply controlled via a remote.

Needless to say, Yumii has some pretty serious on-board software. However, the startup laid claim to some rather illustrious hardware as well when it was selected as a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in the Tech For a Better World category.

LG Hub Robot

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While most manufacturers are focusing on perfecting a mechanically reactive face for humanoids, LG has instead chosen to utilize a screen for all emotive purposes. The Hub robot blinks and the face even changes depending on whatever program is currently running.

The Hub uses Alexa for its voice activation. This allows Hub to play music, read your child his or her favorite bedtime story, and even look up — and also walk you through — that tricky recipe. The unit will also eventually work in tandem with a series of other companion bots around the home for added functionality and connectivity. All of these paired devices will work with LG home appliances.

Unlike Dot and Echo, when Hub is finally unveiled, the device will be able to recognize who is speaking at a given time, according to LG. This removes the rather annoying process of switching between profiles.

Read our full review here.

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