The most amazing feature of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – 2017, without a shred of doubt, were the amazing robots on presentation.
While we have all seen a whole range of robots, from home robots in action performing various household chores to industrial robots executing various mechanical functions in a manufacturing assembly line-up, what made the robots in the 2017 CES steal the show was Amazon’s Alexa, a voice-activated personal assistant (read more about it in our article (Amazon’s Echo-Style Voice Control to Feature in More Appliances).
Before we talk more about this year’s eye-popping robots let’s first, briefly, discuss the history of the CES.
The first ever CES was held at the Hilton and Americana Hotels over four days in New York City from June 24 to 28 1967, attracting 17,500 attendees to view the then latest pocket radios and TVs with integrated circuits.
However, it became an annual event since 1998 with Las Vegas becoming the chosen city for the annual events, ever since. It is one of the largest such events to be held in Las Vegas requiring up to a minimum of 18 days to set up, present and dismantle.
The 2005 CES in Las Vegas is still fresh in people’s memories because of the Windows “Blue Screen of Death” debacle during Bill Gates presentation of the Windows Media Center commonly known as the blue screen error even today.
It was during this particular event that Samsung first presented its 102 inch Plasma Television.
The subsequent yearly CES events in Las Vegas witnessed a superabundance of latest products of the time on show by hundreds of companies, many of them going on to become super hit products.
However, coming back to CES – 2017 held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the main, most amazing, and worthy of many other positive adjectives, were the robots on presentation which literally stole the show thanks to Amazon’s Alexa compatibility.
The masterful robots on display in this particular event, which has mainly been dominated by smartphones, television technologies and cars in the past, was not only a welcome change but the most exciting of them all.
In fact, robots were the main category and were mostly from Asian countries. There were robots from the Hong Kong based company Hanson; Bubblelab from China presented the robot Barista; UBTECH Robotics presented the Lynx which it termed as a “humanoid” robot expected to be commercially available by mid-2017; Waybot displayed a huge “industrial-looking” robot pouring candy for the master.
The fortunate attendees were witness to these robots make your morning coffee, pour candy, turn your lights on and off, fold clothes better than humans would do, and even project a movie on the screen.
The best part was the resemblance of these robots to humans, one of them with a good resemblance to the great Albert Einstein, if not an exact replication.
However, all this was made possible by Amazon’s Alexa with its voice command specialization.
David Hanson founder of Hanson Robotics plans to begin its Einstein robots in the spring of 2017 at a cost of $299. “Personal assistants can finally understand you, he said.”That’s a watershed moment.”
“The barista doesn’t have time to communicate with the customers,” said Jacky Shai of China’s Bubblelab “That’s the purpose of our robot. The barista can now come out and talk to the customers about what they feel.”
Waybot’s Weijian Shang said, “We hope in the future you can sit and relax and have him do everything for you, get you a beer, clean the floor or do some grocery shopping,” talking about the big industrial-looking robot which the attendees saw pouring coffee for its master.