It seems that the robot-heavy future we all grew up watching in sci-fi movies is well and truly on the way – it’s time to talk about Kuri.
According to the following NBC news introduction of the latest product from Mayfield robotics, Kuri is a genderless “home robot”, a companion designed to help out around the house.
As Mike Beebe, CEO of Mayfield says in the video, the project is about “figuring out how home robots are going to evolve and become part of everyday living for a lot of people”.
Kuri’s functionality is described as “part entertainment, part utility”, with functions including facial recognition, self navigation, audio output and alarm/reminder settings it seems like a pretty useful piece of kit.
However, the most important focus for the creators was the way in which the user connects to the hardware. According to Beebe, “you have a lot of things in your house that are purely useful. Your toaster, your doorbell, stuff like that”, the idea here was not to provide another household appliance, but something more personable and personal.
It’s fair to say that Kuri, which debuted at this year’s CES, has gone down fairly well. Quartz said in their CES report, “The Roomba might have been the first robot to prove its use in the home, but Kuri is the first you might actually want to spend time with.”
The ever reliable Wired was also quite taken with what they saw, describing Kuri as “the Sesame Street version of R2D2” and “freaking adorable”.
Okay then, fair to say that on the grand scale of cinema – obviously the only right-thinking measure of any new robot technology – we’re looking more towards the WALL-E, family-fun end of the scale than an iRobot-style thriller. I mean, this thing is even your best mate when you’ve had one too many shandies at the discotheque.
In practical terms, purchasing your very own robot side-kick, according to the official Kuri site, will set you back $699 before tax and shipping, which is a hefty sum of cash, but not exactly mindblowing. As for a timescale, the pre-order form states that the plan is to “ship the first Kuri robots for Holiday 2017”, which we’ll assume to mean mid-December.
So there you go, if you’re feeling a little flush and want to add some ’80s sci-fi magic to your home, then boy-golly is this the year for you, and all for less than the price of the latest iPhone.