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Samsung unveils a small robot Ballie that follows users and acts as their personal AI assistant

Meet Ballie: Samsung unveils a small robot on wheels that follows users and acts as their personal AI assistant and companion

  • Samsung introduced a small new robot assistant named Ballie at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
  • The steering assistant helps to operate the smart house of an owner
  • Samsung says users can use the device to patrol and keep them safe in their home, and as a fitness assistant that gently pushes users to keep moving
  • Ballie is an addition to GEMS, a range of fitness technology
  • The bot can even keep pets company while the owner is out of the house
  • But the supposed “Artificial Human” from Samsung, Neon, was mainly absent at the keynote address at CES

Samsung has unveiled a small robot assistant in the shape of a ball that can roll around and help patrol a user at home – and even act as a fitness buddy.

The technology giant revealed “Ballie” during one of the two keynotes at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Samsung consumer electronics CEO H.S. Kim demonstrated how the spherical bone can follow its owner around, travels close by but also recognizes personal space and speed.

Samsung’s “Ballie” was revealed during one of the two keynotes at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Samsung consumer electronics CEO H.S. Kim showed how the spherical bone works

Samsung consumer electronics CEO H.S. Kim showed how the spherical bone works

Samsung consumer electronics CEO H.S. Kim showed how the spherical bone works

As Kim stepped forward, Ballie responded by driving further back; when Kim started to increase his pace, Ballie accelerated.

“I think he likes me,” Kim said, turning to the crowd.

Ballie is also voice activated. Kim could bring the device to the attention by saying “Say hello, Ballie.”

Samsung says users can use the device to patrol and keep them safe in their homes, and as a fitness assistant that gently pushes users to keep moving.

It can also be used as a remote control that allows seniors to connect to the other smart devices in their home – and ask for help in an emergency.

However, the company says that Ballie wants to be much more than just another device. Samsung says users can use Ballie to capture events with the camera or as a company that can keep pets company.

Ballie follows Kim around the CES stage

Ballie follows Kim around the CES stage

Ballie follows Kim around the CES stage

Sebastian Seung, vice president at Samsung Research, unveils the new robot

Sebastian Seung, vice president at Samsung Research, unveils the new robot

Sebastian Seung, vice president at Samsung Research, unveils the new robot

Ballie fits nicely, not only with the motto “Age of Experience” from Samsung, but also with his new kind of virtual assistants and lifestyle products.

In addition to Ballie, Samsung gave the very first demonstration of a separate, health-focused, AI assistant that can be linked to hardware called “gems” to optimize training.

‘Gems’, which stands for Gait Enhancing & Motivating System, is a series of devices that use AR glasses and a low profile exoskeleton – sensors that are tied around a user’s hips – to map movements and to analyse.

Via the AR glasses, users are helped by a virtual assistant who is superimposed on the screen. The assistant discusses them during the training and gives them advice as they proceed.

Samsung says users can use the device to patrol their home and keep them safe

Samsung says users can use the device to patrol their home and keep them safe

Samsung says users can use the device to patrol their home and keep them safe

Data collected from the exoskeleton and training of a user can be sent to a professional for more analysis.

In addition to improving training, Samsung has positioned the device as a means to help physically disabled people to regain and strengthen their motor skills.

Although the introduction of Ballie and new GEMS functions was unexpected, the supposed “Artificial Human” of the tech giant was remarkably absent from the keynote.

Neon was bullied in the weeks prior to CES, although Samsung has not yet fully communicated what it is or what it will do.

Although details about what Neon will actually do are scarce, the company has suggested that it will be smart enough to act as a kind of AI companion or “best friend.”

Samsung has also been careful with the language it uses to describe Neon.

Instead of calling it a virtual assistant or artificial intelligence, the company has used phrases like “artificial human” or “artificial intelligence.”

Details about Neon probably appear before CES is ready.

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