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Are you a smart-home tech junkie just waiting for your next fix? Can’t wait to kick up your Alexa-enabled home a notch? Read our take on the best home robots.
Best Home Robot Startups
Robots for the home continue to steal the show at annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) exhibitions. Here are a few of the best home robot products on the market today.
At our reader’s requests, we are continuing to include discontinued robots as well, with details of how they worked.
Currently available on a research/invitation-only basis, the Amazon Astro is tied to Amazon’s Alexa to provide home monitoring service (think home security). It uses advanced navigation technology to find its way around your home and go where you need it. When you’re not using Astro, it will hang out close by at the ready. Remotely send Astro to check on specific rooms, people, or things. Get alerts if Astro detects an unrecognized person or certain sounds when you’re away.
The Amazon Astro includes a 6-month trial to Ring Protect Pro. In addition to monitoring, Astro integrates with Ring Protect by allowing you to save your patrol videos in Ring’s cloud storage for up to 60 days. It also includes an Alexa Together subscription, allowing you to remotely care for aging loved ones, giving you peace of mind while helping them live independently. Set up reminders, manage shopping lists, receive activity alerts, and more.
Amazon claims that the Astro is designed to protect your privacy. You should have the option to disable the microphone, camera, and motion with the press of a button. You can also set out-of-bounds zones in the app to let Astro know where it’s not allowed to go.
Ubtech Lynx (Amazon-Alexa Friendly)
China-based Ubtech’s Lynx home robot is the most human-like robotic product close to hitting the market. Lynx’s mobility beats similar products with its nimble movements. A huge plus with Lynx is its integration with Alexa, which will give you a host of smart home connections.
Lynx connects you directly with your smart home devices, Amazon Music, Spotify, and more. And it can even set up your schedule reminders, read your emails aloud, and teach you yoga poses. Price:
Buddy by Blue Frog Robotics
Developed by Blue Frog Robotics with crowdfunding backing on Indiegogo, Buddy looks promising as a future contender on the home robotic market. Blue Frog touts Buddy as, “The first social robot that connects, protects, and interacts with each member of your family.” Buddy, another bot resembling ET on wheels, can speak and hear, recognize faces, sense its environment and navigate your house.
Blue Frog also says he’s able to connect and control most of your smart home devices, manage your calendar, set alarms, make Skype calls and play games with your kids. And Buddy also doubles as a security camera and smoke and fire detector with real-time alerts on its companion mobile app. Buddy is an open-source platform — the company will offer an SDK so developers can add and remove applications and develop new ones for this expressive and functional bot.
Zenbo by Asus
Asus’s Zenbo is one of the more promising smart home robots soon to hit the market. Zenbo resembles ET, with a long, articulated neck and bulbous head and body.
Designed to be a smart-home assistant, Zenbo can wheel itself around your home while controlling your smart home gadgets, interacting with your family members via its touchscreen face, speakers, and microphone, and serving as a remote-control security camera. Asus claims it can even watch over elderly home members and alert you in the case of accidents.
SoftBanks Robotics – Pepper, NAO, and Whiz
Pepper resembles a slightly smaller version of C-3PO — probably the most “robot-like” bot on wheels on the market (in Japan). Originally designed to be an in-store and business assistant, Pepper made its U.S.debut in June 2017 in shopping malls in San Francisco and San Jose, California.
Its makers say it’s also capable of serving as a home robot, working with smart home devices, and even serving as a bartender. Fluent in 20 languages, Pepper can hold conversations, read emotions, and entertain you via its camera- and sensor-filled head, articulated arms, and a touchscreen on its chest. Pepper’s estimated price is $1,700.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the top home robot questions that have poured in from our readers. Got your own? Ask us in the comments!
What Happened To Jibo?
Jibo’s original release was due in the fall season of 2015, but continual setbacks ensued, and it was finally released in late 2017. MIT social robotics expert, Cynthia Breazeal, designed this $899 smart home tabletop bot solely for domestic use (with a hearty dose of empathy added to the mix).
Jibo was discontinued in 2019, then bought by NTT Disruption. According to them, Jibo was more than a robot. He was the perfect combination of intelligence, character, and soul. His AI and social elements applied to robotics were specially designed for the fields of healthcare and education, where he could help elderly people and children thrive.
So where is Jibo today? We have no idea. The websites for Jibo and NTT Disruption have both ceased to exist, so we’re not optimistic as to his future.
What Happened To The Hub by LG?
We’re unable to find recent updates on this robot, and there are reports it was discontinued in 2020. If you see the LG Hub somewhere, or know of any information about its discontinuation, please let us know in the comments!
The LG Hub Robot’s design isn’t as humanoid as some other soon-to-be household robots, rather, it utilizes a screen for its “face.” This squat, tabletop bot uses Alexa for voice activation, which allows it to connect with LG smart home appliances, play music and videos, read to your kids, and more.
Unlike Echo, the Hub will be able to recognize individual voices, removing the need to switch between user profiles. The Hub will also have baby bots that work in tandem with the base bot to give you additional connectivity and functionality and connectivity. Although for now, the Hub only syncs with Alexa and LG’s smart technology, called SmartThinQ, LG will likely pair with more manufacturers to make this cute, little bot a major market contender.
What Happened To Kuri By Mayfield Robotics?
As of summer 2018, Kuri is no longer available and manufacturing has ceased. None will be shipped to customers, and pre-order deposits will be refunded to customers. The company ends their announcement with this statement:
Creating a robot like Kuri is a massive undertaking. We don’t know what the coming months will bring. Regardless, we stand firm in our belief that the home robot Renaissance is just beginning, and it’s going to be amazing.
This 20-inch-tall home robot on wheels blinks, glows, chirps, and tilts his head when you first address him by name. From there, he’s on the move around your house, using a laser precision system to remember a digital, room-by-room map of your home. Kuri has a built-in camera with video recording and can identify each person it meets.
So, Kuri can alert you once your kids are home from school or if an unknown person is in your house. Mayfield Robotics claims that Kuri will work with smart home devices and doubles as a Bluetooth-enabled speaker. And you can remotely control Kuri via smartphone apps.
Best Home Robots: The Waiting Game
Okay, we may need some more time to catch up to The Jetsons’ Rosie the robot, who does chores for the family, but we can still dream! Nevertheless, the best home robots that will be on sale soon can make life a little easier for busy families. You may want to keep this in mind while prepping your holiday wish list this year! We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on how these home bots progress and will keep you updated. Check out all of the latest in the smart home world, including robot vacuums and robot lawnmowers.
Do you own a home robot? Thinking about getting one? Let us know in the comments!Tagged With: Comparison, Robots