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Samsung pushes domestic robots in virtual CES presentation

Image credit: Samsung

Presenting its vision for a “better normal”, via a virtual press conference at the first all-digital CES, Samsung has introduced several new products, including a set of smart domestic robots.

Samsung emphasised its home technologies, many of which can be personalised, acknowledging that the coronavirus pandemic has changed what many people need from their homes: an office, a gym and a primary social space, all in one.

“Our world looks different and many of you have been faced with a new reality – one where, among other things, your home has taken on a greater significance,” said Sebastian Seun, head of Samsung Research. “Our innovations are designed to provide more personal and more intuitive experiences that express your personality. We’re hard at work to bring you next-generation innovation, with AI as the core enabler, for your better tomorrow.”

In a half-hour virtual presentation (essentially a high-production value pre-recorded video) Samsung presented three home robots: JetBot 90 AI+, Bot Care, and Bot Handy. The Bot Care and Bot Handy robots remain in development with no approximate launch date, while the JetBot will be available in the US in the first half of 2021. Launch dates for other territories are to be confirmed.

JetBot is a robotic vacuum cleaner equipped with Lidar, object recognition, and 3D sensors in order to avoid cables and fragile objects. It has a camera, allowing it to double as a home monitor when paired with the SmartThings app. The presentation demonstrated the robot being used to help monitor pets while away from home, including via “barking alerts” and other custom pet services via the app.

The large, roving Samsung Bot Care is intended as a robotic companion and PA, helping the user manage their daily tasks by providing such assistance as reminders about upcoming calls or to stand up and stretch if the user has been sitting at a desk for too long. It is also equipped with a screen which can be used for video calls.

The Samsung Bot Handy, meanwhile, is a robotic domestic servant which can recognise and manipulate household objects. Samsung said that it can “tell the difference between the material composition of variuos objects, utilising the appropriate amount of force to grab and move around household items and objects”. A presentation video showed the robot helping to load a dishwater by grasping soapy dishes in a gripper at the end of an arm, pouring a glass of wine and laying the table for dinner.

“[This] flips the script on what a robot in your home can look like,” Seung said.

Other Samsung products unveiled included an adjustable four-door refrigerator; a 110-inch LED television with a four-way viewing option and no bezels; a 4K laser projector called 'The Premiere'; a meal-planning service, and a “Smart Trainer” integrated into new Samsung televisions.

Samsung said that its seven global AI research centres are continuing to advance the technology and incorporate it into home devices; for instance, allowing washing machines to optimise water usage and with an AI processor in televisions which can upscale HD content into 8K resolution.

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