Today, at Samsung’s keynote at CES, Samsung introduced Ballie, a small ball-shaped robot intended to help you around the house. Samsung says Ballie utilizes AI to be a security robot, a fitness assistant, and it’s “even a new mobile interface.”
In an onstage demo, Ballie followed Samsung’s H.S. Kim around on stage by rolling around, seemingly by using the camera to track Kim as he walked across the stage. Ballie also gave cute little robotic chimes in response to a couple commands from Kim — and even rolled right into Kim’s hands when he called for it.
Just rolling around and following seems to be all that Ballie can do at the moment. But in a promotional video aired shortly after the demo, Samsung showed some more things Ballie might be able to do someday that could make it more of an at-home assistant. Ballie opened the blinds in its owners home, turned on the TV so that the house’s dog could have something to watch, and summoned a Roomba-like vacuum to help clean up a mess.
Samsung share any information about when Ballie might be something you can buy for yourself, or how much it might cost when it’s available.
Samsung isn’t the first to make robots billed as at-home companions. Sony, for example, recently released APIs for Aibo, its robot dog, that will apparently let you make services and applications for Aibo that let it interact with smart home devices. Here’s a concept video of what might be possible with those APIs — the scenarios shown are quite similar to what Samsung is proposing with Ballie.