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CES2020 Robot Report

CES2020 collage of tech items

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is held each January in Las Vegas. It is where consumer technology companies showcase their latest innovations. Last year over 175,000 people attended the show and browsed the aisles with over 4,500 exhibitors trying to get their products some attention. We were excited to learn that “social robots” received a lot of attention from the media this year, so we share some highlights with our CES2020 Robot Report.

Making the World Better

According to Shelby Brown, Staff writer at CNET, “Of the robots I encountered at CES 2020, most were geared … towards one or a blend of three big themes: service, education, and emotional care or support.”*

“Using robots to help with stress, loneliness or other emotions seems to be one of the latest trends in digital health. It might seem strange to turn to a robot to meet our emotional needs, but we’re not that far away already. Just think of all the different ways we use our phones for telehealth and teletherapy.”

“The usefulness of a robot, however, depends on its interaction with a human. So in addition to how people respond to these robots, it’s also important to take price into the equation. While many of the robots are meant to make life easier, more accessible, their price tags won’t be for the average family. Not everyone can drop $450 for a Jennie dog, let alone a few thousand for a Lovot.”

* For the full CNET.com article, please click this link: https://www.cnet.com/news/ces-2020-little-robots-are-ready-to-make-the-world-better-in-a-big-way/

Companionship?

Smart-home technology and innovative cars were overshadowed at CES by tiny robots designed to be human companions. 

Quote: Natashah Hitti | https://www.dezeen.com/2020/01/14/robots-ces-2020/

It will be interesting to find out how quickly (or whether) people in North America are willing to accept robots for companionship. The Jennie Dog, Pibo, Qoobo and Lovot robots shown in the gallery above are examples of some new options introduced at CES. However, it remains to be seen whether an emotional connection can be established between a robot and a human being. Do these robots really serve as companions or are they really just toys in disguise?

At Social Robots, our focus is on connecting people with the help of technology. Our ultimate goal is to entertain, educate and engage family members while reducing feelings of loneliness, stress and social isolation. When you can’t be there in person, an intriguing ‘social’ robot with a personable partner can help deliver your messages, stories and images. The model we have launched is based on the assumption that visits with Mindy are always conducted with a robot specialist or ‘handler’.

What’s next?

As our CES2020 robot report has made clear, robot manufacturers continue to innovate and launch new form factors. But, in the past, many have failed to scale and achieve their sales goals. The reasons are not clear. But maybe one issue manufacturers are avoiding is that they are using an outdated model of technology ‘ownership’. Do people really need a ‘companion robot’ 24 hours/day x 7 days/week? Maybe it is time to consider rental/leasing models, subscriptions, or fractional ownership models. Please comment and let us know what your thoughts are.

About the Author

Lee St James is the Founder & President of Social Robots Inc., a social connection innovator for the sandwich generation. Follow her on Twitter @leestj.

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