Robo-Sharks. Server Robots. What Will They Think Of Next?
Robots. They seem to come in all forms now, whether it's almost literally a shark that can quietly navigate the waters or an E.T.-like automation that looks after servers.
That's a taste of some of the robots and artificial intelligence solutions we saw while at CES 2020 in Las Vegas earlier this month. There was also a delivery robot with a digital cat face, a modular drone that can double as an AI camera and a programmable toy that looks like it came out of the Transformers cartoon show. There was even a gigantic robot from Japanese electronics company Omron that could play a mean game of ping-pong (pictured).
What follows are eight cool robots and AI technologies that wowed us at CES 2020.
Robots are coming for the data center! At least Chinese robotics company UBTECH hopes so with its new AIMBOT, which is short for Autonomous Indoor Monitoring Robot. AIMBOT looks like a robot version of the alien E.T. from the classic Steven Spielberg film, but it has some specific applications that could benefit server rooms, like the ability to monitor signals and temperatures on server racks. The robot is autonomous thanks to LIDAR and anti-collision sensors, and its head is equipped with thermal imaging and infrared cameras to automate the way servers are monitored in physical spaces. UBTECH is testing AIMBOT with a few telecom companies in China, but the company plans to eventually bring the server bot to the United States. No pricing information is currently available.
BellaBot is a delivery robot designed for commercial environments like hotels and restaurants. The best part? Its digital feline face, which reacts to human presence with animated emotions. The cat-headed robot even enjoys a good ear scratching. The company behind BellaBot, China-based Shenzen Pudu Technology Co., says the robot is built with an industry-leading simultaneous localization and mapping, or SLAM, positioning system that allows it to navigate complex spaces. The four-foot robot, which comes with four shelves for placing items, can delivery items automatically and collaborate with other robots thanks to integration with the Pudu Scheduler system. BellaBot is currently being used by more than a dozen hospitality brands in China, including Four Seasons and Sheraton. There are plans to expand in the U.S. through a distributor, but the release date and pricing details are currently not available.
Dr. CaRo is a robotic device designed to help rehabilitate or exercise upper limb strength and movement. Made by Beijing-based Dimension Robots, the device consists of a robotic arm that integrates with a stylus and a tablet computer, giving users the ability to draw and interact with applications as a way to make rehabilitation and exercise entertaining. The robotic arm can be adjusted to guide a user's hand for assisted training; it can also add resistance for active training. The device is estimated to cost $5,000 in the United States, but a release date is not yet known.
Voice assistants are cool, but what if you could put a face to the voice? LoomieAssist seeks to do that with 3D avatar technology that lets users set up their own characters who can sync its lip and mouth movements with conversational artificial intelligence, live conversation or text-to-speech applications. Using deep learning, LoomieAssist can generate avatars based on a person's appearance with only a selfie. The avatars can then be used for customer service, video conference with audio and even in virtual reality. The software is part of a suite of solutions from developer Loom.ai that allows users to easily create their own virtual avatars without the need for extra overhead or expensive software. The software will be available to enterprise customers later this year.
Manta is a manta ray-shaped underwater glider that can propel divers up to 2.5 meters per second. With the Manta's wings as handles, divers can access throttle and speed controls on the left and right wings respectively while power and mode switches reside at the center. The 26-pound glider comes with a 1,300-watt motor and nine power levels that allows it to reach depths of up to 98 feet. The Manta, whose battery lasts for 30 minutes, comes with a front-facing spotlight capable of 1,500 lumens of brightness and a mount for a GoPro action camera. The glider is estimated to cost between $1,500 and $2,000 when it comes to the United States at a later, unspecified date.
Is the future of drones modular? The PowerEgg X is putting that question to the test with its ability to serve as both a high-performance drone and an autonomous camera powered by artificial intelligence. Made by PowerVision Robot Corporation, the PowerEgg X's modular nature means that it can transform from a drone to a handheld gimbal camera or hands-free device with little effort. At the core of its capabilities is a 4K video camera that can take footage at 60 frames a second and use smart image recognition to follow people or objects, whether in the air or on the ground. The device also comes with image stabilization and simple video editing tools to allow anyone to make professional-looking videos with ease. The base model is available now in the United States at a retail price of $899.
Robosen T9 Robot
The Robosen T9 is basically a real-life, toy-sized Transformer, like the ones from the popular 80's cartoon show turned modern movie franchise. With its humanoid shape, the T9 can tuck in its limbs and transform into a car automatically — just by saying "transform." The toy robot is fully programmable through a visual programming platform, a manual programming platform and a 3D graphics programming platform available for smartphones, making it open to users of all skill levels. Thanks to its 22 programmable servo motors, the robot can also drive, pose, dance and pose, among other actions. It can also be controlled remotely through a smartphone app. The robot is available now for $499.
It's as if Jaws and the Terminator somehow created offspring. Robo-Shark is pretty much what it sounds like: a "multi-joint bionic robot fish," as described by Chinese marine robotics company Robosea. The company calls Robo-Shark a "marine bionic robotic platform" that can travel at high speeds (up to 10 knots or roughly 11.5 miles per hour) while emitting very little noise. The Robo-Shark propels itself with its bionic tail, which Robosea says consumes a low amount of power and has a long battery life as a result. The 165-pound robot fish can be programmed to follow paths automatically, and it can be installed with add-ons like an ultra-short baseline positioning system or a deep-sea acoustic release transponder. Potential use cases include long-term underwater cruising, underwater scientific investigations, underwater monitoring and mapping. Pricing and availability are not known.