Robohub.org
 

CES gets robots all wrong

by
15 January 2013



share this:

In my opinion, the International Consumer Electronics Show used robots gratuitously, out of context and without benefit to robotics companies. It’s a category problem more than anything else and is repeated across consumer electronics, media and popular culture.

CNET used robots in the showreel for the “post mobile future of technology” panel, yet didn’t discuss automation or artificial intelligence. CES used robots in their general showreel, playing in all the shuttle buses and PR for CES2013, and yet buried the “robot tech zone” at the back of beyond. It would have been good to see the poster robot, Amp, in production or in person. But also, there were far more robots out of the robot zone than inside it. Robotics has jumped the shark. Consumer robotics is alive and well, but it doesn’t resemble the PR.

We may have reached a tipping point where having a robot zone does everyone a disservice. Outside of a couple of very well known and popular robots, like Paro and Pleo, the robot zone was primarily filled with component company booths. Most robot companies, like iRobot, were scattered across the entire show, staying closer to their vertical areas. Or they were in the new innovation and startup areas. And you couldn’t rely on the CES categories if you wanted to find a robotics company somewhere else.

The CES 2013 official guide lists only 59 robot companies (and they are scattered across the whole convention area). It’s immediately obvious that major companies are missing from the list. iRobot, Parrot and Moneual all had “ROBOT” proudly posted all over their displays and were doing thriving business in the home appliance areas. However, they weren’t listed as robot companies.

Parrot and Moneual are going head to head in the internet of things with their new smart pot plant sensors. And although they are reaching into other areas of automation and robotics, Moneaul in particular was milking the packaging device of calling everything a “robot”, with their robot vacuum, mop and air purifier.

There were also some great robotics companies in the Eureka Tech Zone with Modular Robotics, RoadNarrows, Interbots and Robotex, to name just a few. Modular Robotics new Cubelets kit is both cheaper and better. They’ve added a lego conversion, so that you can attach lego to your Cubelets and go wild building. They’ve also added a bluetooth cube and made them hackable.

:)

Interbots had their new soft touchable and expressive robot toy aimed at children with autism spectrum disorder. RoadNarrows was displaying a nice lightweight 3D printed 5 DOF robot arm and 3D vision system, which highlights the changes that digital manufacturing processes are making in robotics.

And Robotex were selling a light weight consumer version of their security robotic platform. “Avatar” is ios and android compatible, via bluetooth and is open source. Avatar also comes from a company that knows how to build reliable and robust robots and is selling for only $299.

You can also find plenty of robotics hidden in the automotive sections. (Most of the buzz I heard at CES was about driverless vehicles and assistive technologies.) But it’s clear that car companies don’t always see much benefit in identifying as a ‘robotic’ technology.

There’s the problem. What is the benefit to a robotics company in being categorized as ‘robot’ when your market may be home automation or health care?

And it was sad not to see Amp in ‘person’. It sure looked like Amp was the poster robot for CES and yet production has been on hold since the recession hit.



tags: , ,


Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.
Andra Keay is the Managing Director of Silicon Valley Robotics, founder of Women in Robotics and is a mentor, investor and advisor to startups, accelerators and think tanks, with a strong interest in commercializing socially positive robotics and AI.





Related posts :



IEEE 17th International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering paper awards (with videos)

The IEEE International Conference on Automation Science and Engineering (CASE) is the flagship automation conference of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society and constitutes the primary forum for c...
ep.

340

podcast

NVIDIA and ROS Teaming Up To Accelerate Robotics Development, with Amit Goel

Amit Goel, Director of Product Management for Autonomous Machines at NVIDIA, discusses the new collaboration between Open Robotics and NVIDIA. The collaboration will dramatically improve the way ROS and NVIDIA's line of products such as Isaac SIM and the Jetson line of embedded boards operate together.
23 October 2021, by

One giant leap for the mini cheetah

A new control system, demonstrated using MIT’s robotic mini cheetah, enables four-legged robots to jump across uneven terrain in real-time.
23 October 2021, by

Robotics Today latest talks – Raia Hadsell (DeepMind), Koushil Sreenath (UC Berkeley) and Antonio Bicchi (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia)

Robotics Today held three more online talks since we published the one from Amanda Prorok (Learning to Communicate in Multi-Agent Systems). In this post we bring you the last talks that Robotics Today...
21 October 2021, by and

Sense Think Act Pocast: Erik Schluntz

In this episode, Audrow Nash interviews Erik Schluntz, co-founder and CTO of Cobalt Robotics, which makes a security guard robot. Erik speaks about how their robot handles elevators, how they have hum...
19 October 2021, by and

A robot that finds lost items

Researchers at MIT have created RFusion, a robotic arm with a camera and radio frequency (RF) antenna attached to its gripper, that fuses signals from the antenna with visual input from the camera to locate and retrieve an item, even if the item is buried under a pile and completely out of view.
18 October 2021, by





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association