Kuri: A Smart Home Robot To Be Your Companion

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Jan 05, 2017 03:25 AM EST

An independent subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH, Mayfield Robotics unveiled the "Kuri" at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Tuesday. Kuri is a 20-inch tall and 12-inch wide home robot that features asynchronous motors, a capacitive touch sensor, speakers, microphones and HD camera.

The robot is a little more amiable than the robot like Echo or Google Home as it animates playfully when its name is mentioned, emotes audibly when instructed to perform a task and features a built-in LED that changes color to indicate its mood at a particular time.

The company wanted to build a robot that would feel less like a piece of technology and more like a companion. Mayfield's vice president of marketing, Chris Matthews noted.

 "It does not feel like a robot in the traditional sense. It connects to people a different way than normal tech. It is very much about what people feel," he says.

Kuri is designed with the ability to express human-like emotions, with an animated spherical head and eyelids - articulated plastic frames over the robot's eyes that rely on a vertical lift and six motors and a high definition camera capable of remembering people the robot has seen.

Kuri is designed to do all sorts of things around the house but unfortunately, the robot responds with chirps and squawks instead of human voice. "As soon as it starts talking and responding to a human voice, the level of expectation goes up," Matthews said.

It also possesses the ability to recall its surroundings as a laser-depth system tracks the location of walls and furniture at the millimeter level. The robot is able to build a digital room by room map of its environment, which prevents it from colliding with objects in its way.

Kuri's features a laser array that aid in mapping the house and a 1080p camera behind its eyes for security check-ins, which can be accessed through its companion application. It automatically returns to its docking station when battery is low, according to The Verge.

In a demo at the CES, Matthews instructed a Kuri unit with a verbal command, to travel from a hotel suite kitchen to a living room and then placed a backpack in its path. The robot identified the bag and cautiously moved around it.

The sounds are produced by dual speakers that can also serve as a bluetooth speaker. Kuri's primary interface, voice recognition, is enabled by a dedicated processor and 4-microphone array that responds to the wake phrase: "Hey Kuri" and 12 other basic commands.

Although, unlike the Amazon echo or Google home, Kuri is on wheels and Its movement is powered by small electric motors, two large castor wheels that can handle flooring, carpets, area rugs and leather.

Kuri is not entirely autonomous as all of the robot's functions can be remotely controlled through a smartphone companion application. Its motors can be controlled through a virtual trackpad, its speakers via the smartphone's microphone, and its camera through a dedicated record button, according to Yahoo.

It responds to touch from users, who do not want or know how to use the voice controls especially kids and sends a text to notify parents when kids get home from school.

Kuri is now available for pre-order at HeyKuri.com with a $100 deposit. It will cost $699 when it is released toward the end of this year.

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