At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Mayfield Robotics unveiled what could possibly be the first truly domestic robot. The Bosch-owned company integrated full functionality with a pleasing, approachable design to establish the robot, named Kuri, as a friendly presence in the home.
Kuri is designed to fit right into smart homes. According to Kuri’s Blog, the bot has a 1080p camera behind one of its eyes, an array of four microphones, dual speakers, wifi and Bluetooth connectivity, and spatial sensors for navigation. It can be programmed to do various tasks around the house and is capable of connecting to modern smart homes through IFTTT. Kuri is 50.8 centimeters (20 inches) tall and weighs 6.4 kilograms (14 pounds), and when its hours of battery life run out, the bot simply returns to its charging dock to recharge.
The fact that Kuri reminds us of certain characters from animated films is not coincidental — Mayfield Robotics intentionally made the robot look that way so that it could easily ingratiate itself to its owners. However, Kuri is more than just a pretty face. “While insanely cute on the outside, Kuri contains serious technologies on the inside that represent the latest developments in smartphones, gaming, and robotics,” said Mayfield Robotics CTO and co-founder Kaijen Hsiao in a press release. “We hope Kuri introduces people — especially kids — to the power of technology and can inspire a new world of possibilities for their future.”
According to Kuri’s creators, one particularly great thing about this domestic robot is that it can be fully functional out of the box, not relying too heavily on third-party services. Further, by the time it reaches the market, Kuri will have a companion app available for iOS and Android. This will allow the robot’s owners to contact and control it remotely to do things like check up on the house while away on a business trip.
Kuri is far from the first domestic robot. A similar project from ASUS, called Zenbo, was also just announced in Taiwan, with a whole slew of capabilities of its own. French telecommunications company Yumii also recently unveiled Cutii, a companion robot for the elderly to help them interact with family, doctors, and others. We also have companion robots that can help autistic children learn new skills, ones that can respond to us with familiar facial expressions, and some that can perform physical tasks to help people with disabilities.
Kuri costs $699 and is available for pre-order with a downpayment of $100. It should be released around the 2017 holiday season, so we’ll just have to wait until then to see whether the age of domestic robots is truly upon us.