CES 2021: Samsung Puts Robot Vacuums Center Stage

Article By : Sally Ward-Foxton

A lidar-powered vacuum cleaner that can also pet-sit? Welcome to CES 2021!

At CES 2021, Samsung presented its vision for AI in home electronics, including home robots that can pet-sit, load the dishwasher and keep you company. Under the heading “A Better Normal For All,” president and head of Samsung Research Sebastian Seung showed off the consumer electronics giant’s latest innovations. Noting that the world looks quite different to how it did for CES 2020, Seung pointed out that home has taken on greater significance for all of us. Samsung’s strategy for home appliances therefore centers around the customizable, including bespoke fridges and an AI-powered smart recipe app that provides tailored meal plans.
CES 2021 Samsung Neo QLED TV
Samsung’s Neo QLED is a fortieth of the thickness of other LED TVs. Built-in AI capabilities can upscale any source into 4K or 8K quality (Image: Samsung)
AI is a cornerstone technology for Samsung, creeping into almost every consumer appliance the company showed — everything from food recommendations to image quality enhancements in TVs. The company’s latest TV, the Neo QLED, uses as many as 16 different neural networks models to upscale input images, regardless of quality, to 4K or 8K. Seung said this TV uses a proprietary neural network processor called the Neo Quantum to process the upscaling workloads. Home robots featured heavily in Samsung’s presentation. The latest iteration of a robot vacuum cleaner, Samsung’s Jet Bot 90 AI+ uses AI-powered object recognition to identify and classify objects in its path, and decide how close to get to them. So it’s quite happy to clean very close to toys on the floor, but will give precious vases a wide berth. This vacuum cleaner is equipped with lidar and 3D sensors which help it recognize obstacles such as cables in its path. Jet Bot 90 AI+ has cameras, too. The cameras allow it to also function as a pet-sitter, providing barking alerts to pet owners via an app and allowing owners to check in on their furry friends. In the demo Samsung showed, a dog and cat knock various items from a breakfast table and chew the stuffing from a toy rabbit; the Jet Bot happily cleans up after them. The demo also had Jet Bot play videos of dogs on the TV to calm the pets down while it cleaned up the spilled cereal.
Samsung CES
Jet Bot 90 AI+ not only vacuums, it can also pet-sit while you’re out. It uses lidar, cameras and 3D sensors to get around (Image: Samsung)
Samsung’s vision for the future of home robots also includes Bot Care and Bot Handy, both currently still under R&D. The concept video of Bot Care showed it interacting with a home worker in a similar way to today’s voice assistants, but in a friendly-looking wheeled robot format. Bot Care managed the worker’s schedule and learned her habits, as well as reminding her about meetings and when it was time to take a break. Bot Handy was much more impressive. In a similar format to Bot Care, it had a hand that could grip small objects. The concept showed Bot Handy recognizing and grabbing dirty dishes from the sink and placing them in the dishwasher. It could also set the table and pour drinks. Jet Bot 90 AI+ will be available in the US in the first half of 2021. Related articles:

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