Ballie at the CES

It’s time for the Consumer Electronics Show, which means that the latest home robots are on display. One to watch is Billie, a robot that looks like a yellow bowling ball.

Ballie rolls around and talks to you. It can also project things on your wall, ceiling, or floor. You can interface it with smart appliances and such in your home, but it will also project workout videos, show you your schedule for the day, and presumably show you ads and videos.

With a battery life of two or three hours, lidar navigation, and AI to help it communicate with people, Ballie should be able to do what Alexa and Siri can do, with the advantage of mobility. It can show you details from your smart appliance, even if they don’t have displays. It can make phone calls.

It looks like a robotic as it rolls around, but it doesn’t vacuum. However, it will amuse your pets while you’re gone, showing them images they might like and initiating automatic pet feeders.

Caring for humans?

Back in 2020, Samsung debuted Ballie as a “‘personal care robot’ that uses artificial intelligence to help seniors connect with smart devices in the home and can serve as a fitness assistant.” This time around, they’re not talking about elder care.

They’re not talking about childcare, either, though they do seem to be pretty committed to pet care. till, Ballie probably has potential to keep an eye on the very young and the very old. Ballie will text its owner about its activities and can make phone calls. It can also sense human beings’ positions in space — the better to project videos on the most convenient surface — so it could probably notice when an elderly person fell and call emergency services.

Ballie may also be able to help the old and young to use smart home devices even if they’re not up to getting comfortable with multiple apps.

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