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Is 2018 the year you invite a robot into your home?

Kuri

The Which? tech team has been at the CES tech show in Las Vegas and we’ve spotted a definite trend for cute robots. But are they actually useful – and would you want one in your home?

Robots have had a bumpy ride in popular culture. For every T-1000 there’s a Robocop (if you consider him a robot at all), and for every Megatron there’s a Short Circuit.

This year’s cute robots

The robots we’ve seen at CES tech show in Las Vegas definitely fall into the ‘cute’ category. But then, they need to be cute to be accepted – no one is quite ready for a humanoid robot wandering around the house just yet.

There’s something unnerving about a face that’s close to human, but not quite. Instead, the robots we’ve seen at CES look like they’ve been drawn by a Pixar animator.

Robots, like the CLOi from LG and Kuri, have big eyes but no other facial features. They’re more like a pet than a robot – you can even stroke Kuri and it gives an affectionate chirp when you do.

What can these robots do for you?

They don’t just trundle around the house like a mobile trip hazard; the new fleet of cute robots have a point.

Kuri records things throughout the day, capturing moments you might have missed. CLOi is like an Amazon Echo – it responds to voice commands and it can control your smart tech.

Is that enough to make you want one, though? And how long before these rolling robots grow legs and start cooking your meals?

The closest we’ve seen to a humanoid robot is one that tidies your house. The Aeolus has a pair of arms to grab rubbish and put it in the bin. It sounds useful, but it’s also huge and the company behind it told us it would cost the same as a family holiday.

Would you buy a robot?

If the number of robots on show at CES proves anything, it’s that they are more than just a flash in the pan. This latest batch, which focuses on education and being a help around the home, could actually be useful rather than just a cute novelty.

Could you see yourself buying Kuri, CLOi or even Aeolus – or would you rather wait until a robot can cook your meals and wash the dishes?

Would you buy a robot to help at home?

No way, I don’t need robots to help me (57%, 474 Votes)

Maybe, when the technology gets better (35%, 290 Votes)

Yes, I’ll be an early adopter (8%, 64 Votes)

Total Voters: 828

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Comments

The Which? tech team has been at the CES tech show in Las Vegas and we’ve spotted a definite trend for cute robots. But are they actually useful – and would you want one in your home?”
NO without wishing to appear rude. There are far more pressing things for Which? to investigate and deal with. Unless, that is, you have found a robot that will make me as powerful as the organisations I need to deal with.

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I don’t want no robot walking about my house and messing things up!

Those interested in this may also like to watch a lecture at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iuAHNKd-28 from the Open Data Institute.

Worrying how young PHDs are starting to look these days.