Companion robot Kuri designed for the whole family

House bot: Kuri is designed with personality, awareness, and mobility.

Mayfield Robotics is bringing an undeniably cute companion robot called Kuri to CES, but will its combination of high-tech features and human-like personality be enough for it to charm its way into your home?

Home robots caused something of a buzz in 2016. The iPatrol Riley – a dead ringer for Pixar's Wall-e – smashed through its Indiegogo campaign target by 300% and went on general sale as a cute autonomous security guard in July.

In June Asus, the company best known for making Google's Nexus 7 tablets, unveiled the Zenbo, an Android companion that was good with children and even had a digital face. And in October Toyota confirmed that its Kirobo Mini companion robot would be going from 2015 Tokyo motor show concept to retail reality before the end of 2017.

And at this year's CES, Kuri is aiming to join the growing list. Described by its creators, Mayfield Robotics, as an intelligent robot for the home, Kuri can capture HD video footage, stream music in any room, navigate around the home, interact with other connected appliances and can even read the children a bedtime story.

"For generations, people have dreamed of having their own personal robot in the home, and we've been focused on making that dream more of a reality," said Sarah Osentoski, COO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics. "We're proud to introduce Kuri to the world and can't wait to see how he touches the lives of everyone, ranging from parents and children to early technology adopters."

The cone-shaped robot stands 50cm high, tips the scales at 6.4kg and is both iOS and Android compatible. His voice recognition capabilities will enable him to respond to questions and commands with a suitable facial expression and of course, with a soundtrack of pops, squeaks and other traditionally robotic sounds.

"While insanely cute on the outside, Kuri contains serious technologies on the inside that represent the latest developments in smartphones, gaming, and robotics," said Kaijen Hsiao, CTO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics. "We hope Kuri introduces people – especially kids – to the power of technology and can inspire a new world of possibilities for their future."

The robot will cost US$699 (RM3,143.75) when it goes on sale in the US towards the end of 2017 and those interested in being early adopters can make a US$100 (RM449.75) deposit following CES.

And because Mayfield Robotics is a tech startup that's been nurtured and incubated by Bosch, its future is secure, just like a robot-patrolled home. — AFP Relaxnews

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