LG Electronics Inc. is the latest company to join the smart home assistant market, launching the cute-looking Hub Robot at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Wednesday.
Complete with a set of blue eyes, the Hub Robot uses Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa’s voice recognition technology to complete household tasks such as turning on the air conditioner or changing a dryer cycle with simple verbal commands. The natural comparison is to Amazon’s Echo smart home assistant, but the robot actually has robotic functions, such as the ability to reorient itself to face the user and bob along with the music it’s playing.
The circular screen on the front of the device also displays images and videos, including those taken from other smart home devices, such as images of the contents of a smart refrigerator. Sensors within the device can detect body language and even different people within a home. It can be programmed to respond to hand signals, and it also can respond with a different greeting to different people.
Like the Amazon Echo, the Hub Robot can be used as a control center for other smart home devices, meaning that it can be told to set alarms, monitor cameras, turn lights on and more. LG claims the device works best when placed in common areas of the house where people tend to gather, such as the kitchen or the living room. But for those who would like more than one device, the company has designed a mini version that can be placed in other rooms of the house while delivering much of the same features.
In addition to the Hub Robot, LG also launched a number of other smart robotic devices at CES, including an Airport Guide Robot, Airport Cleaning Robot and Lawn Mowing Robot. The cleaning robot said to be capable of cleaning everything from tiles to carpet floors. The Lawn Mowing Robot is based on technology from LG’s home cleaning robots and is designed to maximize cutting performance by employing a fast-moving blade that “leaves lawns looking impeccable.”