Household robots showcased at 2018 Consumer Electronics Show

LAS VEGAS – As you walk by the thousands of booths at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to browse what companies are bringing to the consumer market in the next few months, you can’t help but to notice all the “non-humans.” The Robot Era is fully underway.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill computer assistants we’ve come to recognize. I’m talking honest-to-goodness robots like the ones you saw on “The Jetsons” and “Lost in Space.” They have heads, arms and eyes, and they can roll around the floor looking to help you.

The most impressive robot I’ve seen so far is from Aeolus Robotics. They haven’t named it — or her, as they say — quite yet. I’m guessing you’ll be able to give her a name just like you would if you brought another human into the family.

For the sake of this story I’ll call her “Rosie” after George Jetson’s housekeeper. “This is the first multi-functioning robot in the home,” explains Alexander Huang, part of the Aeolus Robotics team. “It has a very agile arm that can handle many objects in the home. It can attach to the vacuum; do the sweeping and mopping. It can take a chair out from your dining room table, clean out everything under the table and put the chair back,” he explained.

Using machine learning and artificial intelligence ‘Rosie’ learns the behavior of each person in the household. The team at CES demonstrated how the robot can select someone’s favorite beverage from the refrigerator, pick it up and hand it to the person who wants it.

A couple of booths away, the Foldimate team demonstrated how its laundry-folding robot works. The inventor, Gal Rozov took a basket of dry laundry and began inserting each piece into a tray on the Foldimate’s top section. I watched as it took the piece inside the machine and supposedly folded it and placed it in a stack that came out the bottom of the machine.

“Finally we’re going to have something at home that will help us fold the laundry,” said Rozov, who’s been working on the Foldimate for seven years. “My kids are all over it,” he said. “They’re
fighting to use it at home. They’re like ‘dad when can we have it?'”

The Foldimate made its debut at CES in 2017, but has been in continuous development. The team is looking to begin manufacturing it later this year, and hopes to start shipping to homes by
next year. The price-point they’re shooting for is around $1,000.

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