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### The Future of AI: Robots Showcased in Cutting-Edge Exhibitions

The Computer Electronics Shows kicks off Tuesday promising to bring “embodied AI” as ma…

The favored prediction was for artificial intelligence to dominate the Consumer Electronics Show just a week ago. However, the computers were not in the loop.

Robots are set to wander the aisles and steal some attention from the more practical applications of AI in the connected economy when the show kicks off on Tuesday (Jan. 9) in Las Vegas.

Merely a fortnight after LG revealed a “smart agent” mini-robot that reacts to basic verbal commands and patrols an unoccupied house to monitor energy wastage and make adjustments, Kepler Electronics in China raised the bar with a life-sized (5 feet 10, 187 pounds) “Forerunner” robot.

According to the press release, Forerunner boasts 40 degrees of movement in its limbs and lower body, an “intelligent and nimble hand,” enabling it to lift heavy loads, navigate outdoor terrain, avoid obstacles, and demonstrate hand-eye coordination. Kepler envisions potential clients in industries such as manufacturing, transportation, education, and landscaping, despite the somewhat steep $30,000 price tag for non-automotive consumer products.

Kepler CEO Debo Hu expresses strong optimism about the company’s reception in the market.

The Kepler Humanoid Robot aims to hasten the transition to a “three-day work year” by revolutionizing efficiency through state-of-the-art systems. Hu suggests that humans could dedicate more time to valuable pursuits like space exploration as a result of this advancement. “Our goal is for the Kepler robot to serve as a model for the next phase of human habitation on this planet.”

In the realm of space travel, Kepler is positioning its products in two ways, initially as an alternative to Tesla’s Optimus 2 machine, which debuted in mid-December. Criticism of Optimus’ awkward movements and activities largely overshadowed its launch.

Kepler claims to have addressed this issue by enhancing internal AI-driven software and natural mechanics, allowing its engineers to boost torque in the robot’s movable joints. Furthermore, it positions the Forerunner as an evolution of NVIDIA’s “embodied AI” approach, enabling robots to interact with the real world by “perceiving, reasoning, and socializing.”

Kepler will not be alone in Las Vegas. Several companies unveiled their robotic plans this week in contrast to LG’s announcement:

Orbbec, a provider of 3D vision systems, introduced its Gemini 2 XL, designed to compete with various robots as well as numerous AI-based video analytics and conversational systems. The Gemini 2 XL is a long-range, 3D camera that delivers precise and reliable data in all lighting conditions, indoors and outdoors.

Another Chinese company, KEYI Tech, will showcase Loona, an updated version of the “ClicBot” robot that merges technology with animal behavior. Marketed as a range of toys, mobile home monitors, and educational platforms, Loona is touted by the company as the world’s first consumer robot equipped with ChatGPT, facilitating natural human interaction and introducing new forms of companionship. It received one of the 2024 Innovation Awards for this innovation.

Yo-Kai Express introduces a new mechanical dessert maker that includes a cooking pot within the device, allowing it to create tapioca pearls and various toppings. CEO Andy Lin revealed this to The Spoon.

The device’s integrated cooking capabilities enable it to produce a wide array of hot and cold beverages and meals, including instant oatmeal, protein shakes, soups, and coffees. Reportedly, Netflix has already placed an order for one for its corporate office.

While it may take more than a single event for robots to shed their novelty status, AI-driven machines are finding more practical, albeit limited, applications.

LuxAI, for example, is gaining traction with a smaller robot named QTrobot, as featured in a previous design. While autism therapy has been a primary focus, elder care is also emerging as a significant application.

According to LuxAI, QTrobot has shown promise in improving learning outcomes for children with autism by enhancing focus and engagement levels. Studies indicate that children exhibit less stress and fewer repetitive behaviors when interacting with QTrobot compared to a human.

The utilization of QTrobot in elder care is still in its early stages. Drones are also showing potential in home-based healthcare for the elderly, as per academic papers published in August. Researchers used QTrobot in various interactive scenarios to monitor the physical and emotional well-being of seniors through specialized sensors detecting vital signs. Real-time updates were relayed to medical professionals and caregivers, enhancing the efficiency and timeliness of their interventions.

The report suggests that “QTrobot” could effectively address the complex health management needs of the elderly, monitor their well-being, assist with daily activities, promptly identify health issues, alert caregivers to changes in health status, and prevent critical situations through the integration of multiple cameras.

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Last modified: January 8, 2024
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