If there is one trend from the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show thus far, it’s that AI is being infused into everything. At Samsung’s opening press conference, the technology giant finally gave us an update on Ballie, the compact, circular robot that was first unveiled at CES 2020.
In 2024, though, Ballie is adding AI into the mix as a smarter roving robot companion that can help you around the home every day. Samsung (SSNLF) – Get Free Report said it’s aiming to make managing your home easier with Ballie. It’s also smarter with the proper connectivity to manage and control smart home devices, but also takes a trait from the Freestyle as it’s also a projector. Oh and it will actually come to market this year, according to Samsung.
So, as we saw back in 2020 and still true four years later, the bright yellow bot can follow you around the home, and you can also call the robot by its name to have it roll over. It’s still a circular robot with wheels on the bottom and hardware integrated throughout.
It uses an on-device front-facing camera and an array of sensors to navigate around your home and get to know the owner or main user. This is similar to Amazon’s Astro robot, which gets to know its owners and can recognize faces.
You can ask Ballie topical questions like what the weather is, but since it integrates with SmartThings, you can also use it to turn on a light or run through more advanced home automations. That’s all cool, but what’s really neat is that it can now project content onto surfaces like walls.
Since it has a camera onboard, it will pick the best spot for you to view whatever it is projecting. That goes further than auto white balance and leveling of what is projected, as it knows if you are standing or sitting, so it can adequately pick a place to project the content so it’s within your sightline.
Imagine a movie night at home with a screen that moves as you do, so rather than readjusting on the couch to see the TV, Ballie can move the projected content so it’s within your sightline. Or if you’re fixing something under the sink and need instructions, you could ask Ballie to pull up instructions. You could even start your day with a calming meditation broadcasted on the ceiling.
This is all pretty neat, and this AI infusion to Ballie seems to bring a wider feature set to Samsung’s robot companion. The one being shown off at CES is still a prototype for now, but Samsung is aiming to release Ballie as a true product later in 2024. Further, the company believes that AI can be used to make current products more useful and help streamline aspects of daily life. I’d be interested to see how this develops further and what Ballie looks like as a readily available product.
It also helps that Ballie is still a compact circle with wheels at the bottom in a bright yellow color. Sure, it doesn’t have a screen like Amazon’s Astro Robot with a fun face, but it doesn’t necessarily have the same broader privacy concerns. I’d want to see Ballie offer on-device AI processing and the ability to control the camera and microphones, though.
I’ll have the chance to be hands-on with Ballie in the coming days at CES 2024, but for now, I just hope that when it arrives in 2024, they don’t drop the bright yellow paint job. That lasted for at least four years.