Ballie the rolling robot is Samsung’s near-future vision of personal care

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Samsung’s Ballie is an AI you may actually care about

Sorry, Bixby.

Samsung’s vision for the future of tech has a lot of smarts. Exoskeletons and AR glasses that enhance our fitness. Connected cars that communicate with smart cities. Wearables that detect heart health. Even thermal imaging cameras to help with firefighting. And now Ballie, a personal — and personable — robot that rolls around our homes.

They’re all part of what Samsung co-CEO H.S. Kim dubbed the “Age of Experience” during his CES 2020 keynote Monday evening in Las Vegas. The idea is that tech while becoming smarter and more complex, will also become simpler and more personalized. Instead of wanting to buy things, consumers are seeking out experiences, he said.

“Who we are is changing,” Kim said Monday. “Who we take care of is changing. Where we live is changing. And the way we will live our lifestyles is changing. But at the center is us, people. The way we interact with our world is what drives this evolution. It’s not about what you possess. It’s about our individual needs.”

Ballie?

Two years ago, Samsung said it would spend $22 billion on AI by 2020 and would employ 1,000 AI specialists by the same time frame. It has opened AI centers around the globe to work on solving problems for making technology smarter.

Let’s take a closer look at Ballie, Samsung’s friendly

robotic ball.

The company at last year’s CES showed off several robots that could do things like monitor health and help with mobility issues, and its Bot Chef helps cook meals. At this year’s CES, its biggest example of AI was Ballie, Samsung’s cute “companion” robot.

Ballie, a small, bright yellow, rolling robot, followed Kim around the stage and responded to his commands. Kim said he believes robots can be “life companions.” Ballie “understands you, supports you and reacts to your needs to be actively helpful around the house,” Samsung said in a press release issued at the start of the keynote.

Billie’s on-device AI capabilities will turn it into a fitness assistant or remote control, among other things, Sebastian Seung, Samsung executive vice president, and chief research scientist said during Monday’s keynote.

Along with Ballie, Samsung showed off new capabilities for its GEMS robot, first unveiled at CES last year. The robot looks like an exoskeleton and is meant to help with mobility issues, such as those caused by injuries from strokes. Last year, Samsung said it has developed three models: the GEMS-H for hips, GEMS-A for ankles and GEMS-K for knees.

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