10 Cool Smart Home Assistants At CES 2017

The Coolest Assistants

The hottest products in 2016 were arguably the Google Home and Amazon Alexa digital assistants – which some say is a gateway for consumers to adopt more smart home devices, services and technologies.

Vendors like Lenovo have noticed this trend and, at CES 2017, consumers were presented with a wide array of new smart home assistants.

Following are the 10 coolest smart home digital assistants that CRN saw at CES 2017.


Kuri is a new robot for the home that's part assistant, part pet, but definitely isn't aiming to bring another human-like presence into the household (a la Alexa).

Kuri can be controlled by your voice, but the robot communicates only in a robot language of beeps and bloops, along with through facial expressions and head movements. Kuri responds affectionately to being petted, for instance.

The robot is also distinguished by the fact that it's on wheels and can map its surroundings, and one use case is asking Kuri to investigate what's going on in another room of the house. The robot is being developed by Mayfield Robotics, a Bosch-owned startup in Redwood City, Calif. Pre-orders for Kuri are available now for $699, and the robot is expected to ship for the 2017 holiday season.

Lenovo Smart Assistant

Lenovo took the wraps off a new smart home assistant, the Smart Assistant, during this year's CES. The Chinese company worked with Amazon for the speaker, which uses Alexa for its voice command and response skills.

Similar to Google Home and Amazon Alexa speakers, users can give commands or ask questions to Lenovo's speaker. The cylinder speaker, which contains a volume on top and comes in an array of colors, is priced at $129 and will be available in May.

WooHoo Smart Assistant

WooHoo, which is the "world's first AI-embedded, interactive, and affordable smart home hub that enables comprehensive control of every smart device," wants to be the next Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

This smart assistant takes its role as a smart hub a step further with an embedded 7-inch touchscreen hub that comes with facial and voice recognition – so users with the correct voices can use it.

WooHoo also has a 360-degree HD camera, as well as a spatial surround sound system and compatibility with connected devices like Echo and Nest. The Hub also features a natural language processing capability – so you can talk to it as if it was a human.

WooHoo is currently on Kickstarter, and the product will be shipped in the middle of the summer.

Ainemo's Family Robot

Chinese company Ainemo showed off its family robot at CES, dubbed "Little Fish." This family robot is a voice-controlled assistant that facilitates communication inside and outside houses. Users can interact with the robot through voice conversations to make video calls, leave messages, control home appliances, play music and news, or ask questions. Ainemo's family robot is coming to the market in the spring, according to the company.

Bonjour Personal Morning Assistant

If an alarm clock just doesn't meet your needs when waking up, try Bonjour, the personal morning assistant.

This smart alarm clock, which made its debut at CES Unveiled this year, can adjust wake up times for certain conditions. For instance, Bonjour will wake you up earlier if there is heavy traffic on a day that you have an important meeting scheduled, or automatically let you sleep in on the weekend.

On top of being an alarm clock, Bonjour also acts as a smart home hub, integrating with smart home devices like WeMo, Philips Hue and Nest; as well as a personal assistant with voice recognition features, to update you on the weather or news. Holi, the French company that manufactured Bonjour, said that shipments are expected in June 2017.

Bosch Mykie

At CES, Bosch showed off Mykie, short for "My Kitchen Elf," a connected kitchen companion.

This smart robot listens to voice commands and helps with everyday activities in the kitchen, such as cooking – the product can help by putting up recipes from an index. Beyond that, Mykie can help by answering questions about how long a cake still needs to bake in the oven or what's in the refrigerator.

Mykie is also compatible with a range of Bosch's Home Connect household appliances, such as connected refrigerators and coffee machines. At this point, Mykie is still a concept but it may hit shelves later in the year.

LG Hub Robot

LG lifted the curtain on a new personalized robot, the Hub Robot, as a digital assistant for smart connected homes at CES.

The Hub Robot uses Amazon Alexa's voice recognition technology to complete household tasks, including turning on the air condition or changing a dryer cycle with verbal commands. But the robot also moves and swivels in place, responding to consumers using body language like nodding its head when answering questions.

This robot is also equipped with an interactive display, to show things like the contents of the refrigerator or recipes. And, like many other digital assistants on the market today, Hub Robot can play music, set alarms and provide weather updates. LG did not disclose a release date for the Hub Robot.


CES-goers got a preview of Jibo, the "first social robot for the home." This robot is special in that it is personalized – the assistant works to know his family by recognizing the faces and voices of close family and friends with two high-resolution built-in cameras and microphone. Jibo also enables users to leave hands-free voice reminders and messages, making everyday tasks easier.

The robot is still on Indiegogo, but consumers can pre-order Jibo now for $749.

Panasonic Desktop Robot

Panasonic debuted its desktop robot at CES, a device equipped with a Wi-Fi network function that accesses artificial intelligence-based natural language processing technology – so it can communicate clearly and efficiently.

The robot, which looks like an egg shell, is built for the office – it has a built-in projector, and has voice capabilities, so users can ask it questions or receive reminders.

"This is Panasonic's latest effort in demonstrating network services in a friendly package, and we are showing this robot at CES as a way of obtaining feedback on its features and functions," said Takahiro Iijima, Director, Panasonic Design Strategy Office in North America, in a statement.

The robot is still merely a test project, according to Panasonic.

UBTech Alpha 2

UBTech showed off its Alpha 2 robot, a programmable humanoid device with a smart brain and nimble body than can interact, help and serve consumers.

Its abilities include managing calendars and providing verbal updates, conducting home security monitoring and alerts, and performing various entertainment functions. Alpha 2 integrates with smartphone technology and comes equipped with a built-in camera and intelligent voice system, as well as a cloud services platform. Alpha 2 also has 20 joints, enabling the robot to have the same flexibility traits as the human skeleton, according to UBTech. This robot is available starting in March for $1,300.