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Shopping for your first Robot

While smart home assistants like Alexa offer convenient hands-free help via voice interface, home robots go one step further by adding computer vision (ability to see) through cameras, and mobility (to walk around and make gestures).. These robotic assistants can do lot of things like taking pictures, working as your home surveillance camera, reading story books to children, in addition to playing music, booking taxi, keeping reminders, calendars, to-do lists, checking online recipes, flight status and more..

Below are some of the home robots you can purchase today!

Kuri: Adorable home robot launched by Bosch start-up Mayfield Robotics in CES 2017. This robot is primarily meant to entertain children and looks like a snow-man. Features include touch sensors, HD cameras for taking photos and videos, gestures through head nodding movements, speakers to play music, and mapping sensors for navigation. The price is at $899. Unlike the other robots out there, Kuri, however, lacks a display to play videos etc.

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Jibo: Jibo was launched through a crowdfunding initiative by Dr Cynthia Breazeal, an associate professor at the MIT Media Lab, and also costs at $899. Jibo offers a touch-screen display which can be used to interact with Jibo, in addition to voice-commands. Jibo can read the news, set alarm clock, play music, take pictures, make Skype video calls, order food delivery and more..

Jibo looks a lot similar to and therefore is often confused with LG’s Hub robot which connects to home appliances through Home IoT. LG, however, hasn’t officially announced any release date or price for their Hub robots.

Zenbo: from ASUS priced at $599. Features include voice-control for smart home devices (lighting, door locks, TV, aircon), request help in emergencies, taking pictures and reading stories to children. The developer program offers tools and SDKs to program new apps and features in Zenbo.

Pepper and NAO from Softbank Robotics – Unlike the other robots above which look like WALL-E or snow-man, these robots are somewhat humanoid in their shape and form. Their main usage has been to build robotic concierges to greet and assist customers in hotels, airports, shops and banks. The chat-bot API allows integration for existing bot applications built in MS Bot framework or DialogFlow. The Choregraphe suite offers a simple drag-n-drop UI to program dialogs and animations in the robot and to test simulations. The hefty price tag (somewhere between US $15K for NAO to $40K for Pepper), however, makes these robots suitable only for large corporates, rather than for domestic use.

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