The technology development is advancing every day and a large number of interesting tech products can be seen on the market. Some futurologists were predicting many years ago that smart electronic devices may take over the world in the future.
All have probably watched movies like Terminator, where highly advanced robots helping or attacking humans while trying to establish full control over the community. Still, it sounds little scary when you think about robots this way, especially during these days when some companion robots can be actually bought on the open market.
Fortunately, they are not dangerous at all and have a helpful purpose only. They are still simple and not overly intelligent, but new models are coming every day, and they are better and better.
Many believe those robots may help us with our ordinary activities, such as driving, washing, cooking and similar. Some technology investors and producers have moved even further and made companion robots. It is one of the hottest technology trends this year, and many talks about it. This market is constantly growing and by some predictions, it will worth more than $34 billion in 2022.
Among pioneers in this technology is a Japanese company Yukai Engineering from Tokio. Their companion robots look like small pets and have some functions, such as tail wagging or making interesting sounds.
The price of such robots is not big at all, and many can afford them. You have not maybe heard so far, but Sony and Toyota entered this market and have been producing these devices for a while.
Albo and Kirobo Mini
Toyota’s Kirobo Mini is small, approximately ten centimeters tall, but quite sophisticated at the same time. It is connected to a smartphone application that provides various functions. Kirobo can even remember your words and thoughts if you talk to them. It has a great ability to learn over a period of time. Kirobo Mini does not forget some of your words that you frequently use, and its knowledge constantly grows. This is known as self-learning artificial intelligence, and you may be heard of Google software that works on the same principle. However, Google is just developing a virtual program, while Kirobo is a real thing. You can see it, touch it, or play with it. This is a really interesting device for all, but especially for kids. They will clearly be delighted with it. Another great thing is its price. Kirobo is not expansive at all, considering his possibilities. This robot costs only $350, and that is a truly low price for such device backed with AI technology.
Sony also took a part of this market and invented a small robot dog named “Albo.” The first version was released fifteen years ago, but the current version is much smarter and capable than the first one. So, Albo can play with a small ball or bone, just like a real dog. It is very funny looking how the robot dog does that. Besides, Albo can even respond to voices while interacting with users. Its intelligence is formed on cloud services, which is a quite popular these days. The inventor also had a wish to create a self-learning robot dog that would act as a real one. Still, the price of Albo is quite higher, and it costs $1800. But, this is all just a type of the iceberg.
Healthcare Companion Robots
There are many positive and negative ideas and thoughts about companion robots, and some are already implemented. They are accessible to each and every person in this world and can be used for various purposes, not just for fun. One good example is a healthcare companion robot intended for a medical purpose.
Pilo Health, a start-up company in Boston, has developed an AI robot to help those with chronical health conditions at their homes. It is capable to proactively engage with users while delivering personalized medical therapy and improving overall care. They are not smart like humans but certainly can manage some simple health care tasks reducing needs for professional medical staff.
Orbit is another start-up company that produces this kind of robots. One of its devices has a purpose to remind patents to take their medicals and to inform them about other medical issues.
Educational Companion Robots and Love-Bots
Besides, some think companion robots can help within the education system, especially in rural areas. This idea is not new, and there were similar robots in Korea, whose purpose was to motivate students to learn science. And they were quite successful.
The majority of young students liked them and supported using such robots in classrooms. However, they would now look quite outdated since it was a long time ago. New models would probably be much more modern versions.
When talking about these intelligent devices, it is important to mention love companion robots. Some tech experts have introduced new models, and they become extremely popular overnight. Many people feel lonely, and they need a friend or love relationship. But, it is not easy to find an adequate person for a romance, so many stays alone for a long period of time. This could be overcome with smart love robots. It is the right moment for these love robots to come in. And some models are already available for purchasing. Usually, they are very similar to humans and look young, handsome and pretty.
For example, Roxxxy love-bot is firstly created in 2010 and looks like a handsome woman. The most expensive versions of this robot are cost up to $8.000, which is a quite big sum of money for an average customer. However, some versions of these love-bots are significantly cheaper than that, but you could not expect to find it for free.
It is a humanoid robot with artificial intelligence, and that has a price.There are also other firms that produce same love-bots. Some of these are very clever, they can sing, recite poetry, talk, remember your personal data, and do other interesting things.
A good example is Actroid DER2, a female robot, with some advanced features created on Osaka University. It is an android love-bot that can speak, breath, blink and so on. Actroid looks very realist, just like a real woman and every new version is better than the previous one.
Some sci-fi movies were the main inspiration for its creators to make something similar. However, there is still enough room for further improvement because no one of these robots is perfect.
Besides, there are some specialized stores that sell only robots, and they usually offer various models. This market is in expansion and customers spend more and more money on these smart devices. Particular entrepreneurs have noticed that and take a part in the business.
Some stores operate online, and you can buy companion robots on the Internet. One of the best is Robot Shop, and they have more than ten models of companion robots.
For example, Pleo rb Autonomous Robot looks like a small dinosaur and is available in several colors. This type of companion bots is great for small kids because it is quite similar to a cool toy. However, it thinks and acts as a real animal, which means it is like a living being. Pleo has a good orientation and can see, hear, feel a touch, and detect objects. Its price is currently $469, and that seems pretty affordable for such intelligent device.
Alpha 1 Pro is a humanoid companion robot that can be also bought in Robot Shop. It has even greater capabilities and can be connected to PC or smartphone.
Alpha’s functions can be subsequently added because it can be coded and controlled by an application. In a standard version, it can perform various yoga positions, dance moves, and headstands. Alpha’s current price is $600, and it is more expensive than the previous version.
Also, Voice Activated R2-D2 is an interesting but affordable companion robot that can also be bought online in Robot Shop. It is capable to respond to some voice commands and to dance as well. This model is very interesting for small children and its price is only $200. That is probably the cheapest model in this store and is suitable for almost every pocket.
However, it is important to mention that there are some negative opinions and views on this subject, and many people believe the robots will bring nothing good to humanity.
A first concern that looks quite realistic is that these devices may take over some jobs from real persons. In the past, you had to find a worker who would drive or clean for you. Now, you just have to buy a robot, and it will complete all these tasks instead of a man. And a potential worker will eventually stay without a job at the end.
Another concern that looks less realistic is in fact that some of these robots may become dangerous in many ways to humans. Some believe their intelligence may grow over time, while they may become smarter than humans in the future. If that happens they would become superior to people and may even destroy them at the end. These accusations seem like a scene from some sci-fi movie, and they are not very possible. Probably, robots will never achieve so high level of intelligence and will always stay just a helpful tool to our humanity.