Samsung has unveiled an upgraded version of its Ballie robot companion at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 in Las Vegas. The new Ballie features a built-in projector and improved AI capabilities for home monitoring, health assistance, and entertainment.
Ballie Returns After 2023 Redesign
First introduced as a concept at CES 2020, Ballie is a small spherical robot designed to act as a personalized AI assistant and life companion. After a redesign in 2023 to improve mobility, interactivity, and durability, the newly upgraded Ballie was showcased by Samsung at CES 2024.
Samsung Mobile CEO Han Jong-hee highlighted Ballie during the company’s pre-show keynote as an example of Samsung’s vision for AI in everyday life. He emphasized the goal of making Ballie both fun and helpful.
“Ballie will be much more than just a service robot,” Han said. “It is designed to actively support people’s lives with AI, being both useful and friendly.”
Enhanced Features and Capabilities
The key new feature Ballie demonstrates this year is a built-in projector, allowing it to project videos, photos, presentations, and more onto walls and flat surfaces. It can now also double as a robotic home cinema.
Other updates and new capabilities include:
- Improved mobility with faster speed and obstacle avoidance
- Better natural language processing for voice commands
- Image recognition to identify objects and faces
- Integration with Samsung SmartThings ecosystem and IoT devices
- Home monitoring features like a security patrol robot
- Health & wellness features like medicine reminders
- Games, visual responses, and entertainment features
Ballie 2024 Key Features
|Projects videos, photos & visual responses onto flat surfaces
|Up to 14 cm/s allowing it to better follow users
|Sensors to prevent collisions and falling
|Natural Language Processing
|Advanced NLP algorithms for better voice control
|Identify people, objects, pets to customize responses
|Control smart lights, appliances, security cameras, etc.
|Roll through home performing security sweeps
|Medication reminders, exercise tips, sleep tracking
|Play music, games, videos
|Schedule management, reminders, etc.
The combination of these AI-powered features aims to create a helpful companion that can support various daily activities and needs around the home.
Possibilities for the Future
During its CES 2024 keynote, Samsung highlighted some creative applications for the upgraded Ballie:
- Serving as a fitness assistant that can motivate and coach users during home workouts
- Entertaining pets when owners are away from home
- Helping seniors or people with disabilities by providing alerts, notifications and projecting video calls from loved ones
- Rolling after and reading stories to children
- Customizable emotional responses and visual effects
As Ballie matures in abilities, Samsung hinted at a vision where it could eventually assist with tasks like grocery delivery, laundry folding, and even child monitoring via its camera, AI, and connectivity – though no specific commitments or timelines were shared.
Complements Other CES 2024 Samsung Announcements
Ballie was showcased alongside Samsung’s 2024 lineup of home appliances with AI features, including washing machines that can recommend cleaning cycles, smart fridges that take item photos to track inventory, and robot vacuum/mops that empty and clean themselves.
Ballie would complement and interact with these appliances as a central smart home assistant. The improved mobility and built-in screen also align with the focus on providing visual experiences shown across the Samsung CES lineup – from expansive TV displays to AR glasses to ultra-slim projectors.
The upgraded Ballie reveal generated significant interest and press coverage, though some questions remain about if or when a consumer version might be released. Ballie was still positioned as an “early stage prototype” and AI companion robot rather than a specific product.
Overall, Ballie’s CES 2024 re-emergence with enhanced AI capabilities reinforces Samsung’s ambitions to embed intelligence and personality into everyday devices for the home. It gives a glimpse into a potential future smart home experience centered around an autonomous robot capable of multifaceted assistance.
What Happens Next?
While no definite Ballie release timeline was provided, Samsung said they plan to continue refining Ballie’s design and AI features over the next couple years based on user testing and feedback.
If eventually brought to market, Samsung would likely position Ballie as a premium smart home assistant, potentially costing several thousand dollars based on the complexity of design and technology involved.
Widespread adoption would depend greatly on Ballie’s demonstrated day-to-day helpfulness and the overall evolution of consumer comfort with having an advanced autonomous robot in the home. But Samsung views their continued Ballie investment as foundational work in AI and robotics that could pay dividends across their consumer devices.
For now, the upgraded Ballie’s CES debut sparks the imagination about new possibilities for AI in everyday routines and spaces. We likely haven’t seen the last of Ballie at future CES trade shows as Samsung determines commercial viability and works to shape consumer perceptions around AI companions.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.