LG’s Cloi home robot gets camera shy at CES press conference

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LG kicked off its CES press conference Monday, January 8, with a slew of smart home announcements, but it was the mishap of Cloi the camera-shy robot that threatened to steal the show.

LG ‘s cute Cloi smart home robot, perched atop a small table, was supposed to help Vice President of Marketing David Vanderwaal figure out the best setting to wash clothes and help find a recipe on LG’s premiere Instaview ThinkQ Refrigerator. Instead, all he got was a shy robot which — after initially engaging with Vanderwaal — did not respond.

The robot continued to blink but otherwise remained mute, leaving awkward pauses in the presentation while the audience waited for its reply. Vanderwaal took the mishap in stride by tapping the screen of the fridge directly to continue his demonstration.

“Even robots have bad days,” Vanderwaal quipped to some awkward laughter from the audience.

Cloi, a curvy little countertop smart hub robot device, is about a foot tall with a head and a screen face that blinks. It is supposed to work like a smart hub for LG’s ThinkQ smart home platform, controlling things like air purifiers and washers and dryers.

The device is also supposed to help, among other things, find recipes to cook based on ingredients in your ThinkQ fridge and help you automatically preheat the oven when you have made your recipe choice. It debuted at CES 2017, but there is no current release date or price for the public.

In addition to announcing smart home appliances at the press conference such as the LG Styler, a de-wrinkling closet-like device that steams your clothes, and the LG ThinkQ Sidekick washer and dryer, LG solidified its footing in the robot market by debuting three other concept robots for commercial uses at restaurants, airports, and hotels. A serving robot features a tray and will serve food and other products. The porter robot will be able to carry luggage and assist with check in and check out at hotels, and the shopping robot includes a bar code reader that scans in products when you place them into the robot’s shopping bin. A multilingual airport robot is currently being tested at South Korea’s Incheon International Airport and is designed to assist travelers by giving information about flights.