A look at AI and robots at this year’s CES in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, wrapped up Friday in Las Vegas, and this year’s big story was artificial intelligence.

AI is demonstrated clearly with robotics, and there were plenty of robots on display and working throughout the show floor.

Omron, a multi-billion dollar company that operates around the world had a particularly impressive robot, four of them in fact. Forpheus grabbed attention by playing ping-pong. “It’s the only one in the world,” said Omron’s Matthew Trowbridge. “It starts learning right when you walk up to the table. It starts measuring you, watching your movements, and as you pick up the paddle it will see how you move the paddle. So by the time you hit the first ball back to Forpheus, just before the paddle hits the ball, it knows where the ball is going to land.”

Omron didn’t spend millions of dollars just to build a robot that plays table-tennis. It’s part of a bigger plan. “We want to show that automation, robotics does not have to be scary or anything,” Trowbridge explained. “We wanted to show people that the automation technology and robotic technology of today can be used in a fun and productive way and work in harmony with people.”

Omron’s other robots were just a few feet away, demonstrating how artificial intelligent robotics can work in factories, on an assembly line putting pieces together.

Trowbridge explained where that type of robotics could be used: “Industrial automation purposes in automotive facilities, semiconductor facilities, packaging and food, and beverage. All types of factories.”

So are Omron’s robots working to take jobs away from humans? Trowbridge said “no we did not develop robots to put people out of work. We develop robots to work in harmony with people and expand manufacturing capabilities to provide more opportunities for people with more manufacturing.”