New Smart Home Robots Will Be Your Loyal (and Adorable) Friend, but Are They Worth the Price Tag?

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Smart home robots are the home feature you never thought you needed. They can act as companions, care-givers, personal assistants and more, but are their friendly features worth the expense?

People have been saying robots will be taking over the world for years. Well, that time has finally come—thanks to the entrance of personal smart home robots. 

Fortunately, these robots appear to be helpful. They’re very cute, so there’s probably no need to worry.

Smart home robots promise consumers all sorts of things, from cuddly caregiving companions  to personal assistants that can move, speak, and hear. Thanks to their advanced technology, many of these robots claim a hefty price tag.

But are they worth it? We’ll let you decide. Below we take a look at some of the most exciting smart home robots coming on the market, and review their features and pricing.

TAPIA AI Robot Companion

smart home companion robots

Tapia is a companion robot, designed to combine the functionality of a smart home device with monitoring and caregiving needs. Tapia looks like a white egg with two cartoon eyes, which lends it a friendly appearance. Fortunately, this robot is small enough for you to hold in your arms, whenever you want a cuddle. The eyes bounce, blink, and wiggle as it responds verbally to your conversation.

Tapia can be set up to monitor your loved ones when you’re not at home or if you live apart from each other. This makes Tapia a great fit for concerned parents, or adults caring for their elderly parents. When the monitored loved one stops responding to Tapia, the caregiver or parent will receive a notification on their smartphone through the Tapia app. Caregivers can use that same smartphone app to check in at any time with their loved one. 

Tapia’s camera combines deep vision learning with motion detection to analyze whether the monitored loved one is at home or unresponsive. If a person has been away for a long time (such as kids sneaking out of the house), Tapia will let you know.

You can also use Tapia to check the weather, make calls, read the news, and more. 

Price:

  • Not yet available, but projected to be over $1,000. Indiegogo users can save 50% on retail price.

Pros:

  • Friendly, egg-like appearance
  • Responds to sight, sound, and touch
  • Includes home monitoring
  • Smartphone app available for remote control
  • Personal assistant technology

Cons:

  • Not available until Indiegogo campaign goal is reached
  • Does not charge on its own
  • Does not move around on its own
  • Expensive

Bottom Line:

If you care for an elderly loved one or children, Tapia offers you two devices in one: smart home monitoring and a personal assistant. Plus, it’s very cute!

Lovot

smart home companion robots

For an idea of what the Lovot robot is all about, consider that its name is a play on words, combining “love” and “robot.” 

This cuddly green robot stands about a foot tall. It has a camera on top to help it navigate around on its two wheels, and sensors all over its body to detect the touch of its human companions. Its two big eyes make it look like a very sweet teddy bear, which isn’t exactly false advertising.

This robot is essentially a stuffed animal on steroids. It responds to your touch, its wing-like arms can move up and down, and its eyes appear to listen to you when you speak. The company promises the robot delivers “a sense of relief and contentment,” but is clear in saying that it “is not a useful robot that will do tasks for human beings.”

Price:

  • $3,100 for pre-orders, available to ship in early 2020. 

Pros:

  • Cute and friendly appearance, with expressive eyes
  • Moves around on its own
  • Responds to human touch

Cons:

  • Limited functionality
  • Expensive
  • Awkward camera placement detracts from appearance

Bottom Line:

Lovot is a companion robot designed to help you feel warm and fuzzy inside. This smart home robot can help children and adults feel less lonely. It requires less maintenance than a pet, but it’s a lot more expensive.

Vector Robot by Anki

smart home companion robots

The Vector Robot by Anki may be small—this little robot can fit in the palm of your hand—but it packs in a ton of functionality and personality. Vector navigates on his own, avoiding people and obstacles, and can self-charge. 

Vector’s very smart, and comes with Alexa built-in. Just say “Hey, Vector” when you want it do something. Even better, Vector’s always getting smarter. This robot connects to your home wi-fi so it can update with new features and “learn” new skills.

In appearance, Vector resembles an all-black miniature version of the Pixar character Wall-E, with gear-like treads and two square green eyes that respond to your voice. 

Thanks to Vector’s built-in Alexa technology, you can ask it to set reminders, answer questions, tell you the weather, and control other elements of your smart home, like smart lights and thermostats. Anki's Vector can’t do everything Alexa does, like stream music or support calls, but it can do a lot more than Alexa in other ways. Vector can respond to sight, sound, and touch. Its HD camera recognizes faces, so it can tell you and your family members apart, and it models its speaking language to suit your own.

Price:

Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Built-in Alexa
  • Responds to sight, touch, and sound
  • Communicates and responds to your voice
  • Moves around and charges on its own
  • Automatically updates with new features

Cons:

  • Small appearance and microphone requires it to be nearby to work

Bottom Line:

The Vector robot is like an Alexa on wheels—literally. For those who want to impress their friends with something that’s not like every other smart home device out there, this smart home robot fits the bill.

Lynx

smart home companion robots

The Lynx, created byUBTECH, is what many people imagine when they think of a smart home robot. This one-and-a-half foot tall robot can move its arms and legs so well, it can even dance along to the music you ask it to play. It has a cute, astronaut-like appearance that makes it a fun addition to your home.

Lynx’s coolest feature has got to be Avatar mode. Turn this on, and the robot will see, hear, and speak for you—allowing you to be in two places at once! The home monitoring is another standout feature. The 1080p camera is voice activated and can take 180 degree panoramic views. Ask it to snap a photo to your friend (selfies are easy in Avatar mode), or you can use it as a home security camera. Lynx even recognizes faces!

Because Lynx comes with Amazon Alexa built-in, you can enjoy all the functionality of a smart home assistant, controlling your smart home devices, listening to podcasts, or asking for the weather. Plus, Lynx is smart. This smart home robot automatically updates its software over a WiFi connection, so its skills are always growing.

Price:

Pros:

  • Friendly appearance
  • Built-in Alexa technology
  • Automatically updates with new features over a WiFi connection
  • Includes home monitoring
  • Responds to sight, touch, and sound
  • Communicates and responds to your voice

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Lower speaker quality

Bottom Line:

The Lynx smart home robot puts the fun in functional. You can enjoy all the utility of a personal robot assistant and home monitoring, with the amusement of it coming in a humanoid package.

Temi

smart home companion robots

For some people, the idea of a personal robot assistant isn’t enough. You want your robot assistant to feel like a robot butler in your home. The Temi is for you.

This robot stands a few feet tall and rolls itself around your home on its base (although it’s can’t climb stairs—yet). For a face, it has a screen that operates much like an Amazon Echo Show. You can ask Temi to tell you recipes, teach you a language, play music videos, and make phone calls. Because of its large stature, however, Temi’s speakers are superior to those you’ll find on the Amazon Echo Show or traditional smart home devices—thanks to speakers in the body and a subwoofer in the base.

One of our favorite features is the navigation. Because the Temi smart home robot makes a map of your house, you can direct it to meet you in a certain room, or tell it to go into another room. And because the Temi has a built-in stand, you can actually place items on the stand and have it deliver them to that other room! The Temi website shows warm cookies being delivered to kids watching TV on the couch. We can’t wait to try that at home. For an added sense of cool, that same shelf doubles as a wireless charging pad for your smartphones.

Speaking of smartphones, Temi has its own free app, available on both the App Store and Google Play. Parents love this feature, as you can live stream or video call home, and speak to your kids through the Temi camera and speakers.

Price:

Pros:

  • Responds to sight, touch, and sound
  • Communicates and responds to your voice
  • Moves around and charges on its own
  • Smartphone app for remote control
  • Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity
  • Wireless charging pad for phones
  • Quality built-in speakers

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Bulky size may be a turnoff for some

Bottom Line:

If you’re ready to turn your smart home into a home for the future, the Temi robot is a solid first step. This smart home robot gives you all the functionality of a smart home device, with the wow factor of having it delivered by a robot butler.

Buddy the Emotional Robot

smart home companion robots

After a successful Indiegogo campaign a few years ago, Blue Frog Robotics has been busy developing and testing Buddy the Emotional Robot. The emotional campaion robot previewed at CES 2018 to much fanfare, winning a Best of Innovation award. 

At just under two feet, this friendly robot can navigate around your home all on its own. It uses its HD screen face to display a wide range of emotions that look like supercharged emojis, including happy, in love, silly, and crying. These emotions aren’t random—Buddy uses artificial intelligence to respond to your conversation in smart, empathic ways. And because the robot is a few feet high, he’s easy to hug, no matter your age.

Buddy is designed as an emotional companion first and foremost, so it will stay near you, your loved ones, or children while you go about your day. Parents and caregivers can also check in on loved ones through Buddy when they’re away from home, thanks to voice and video calls. 

On top of it all, Buddy includes the standard personal robot assistant features, such as calendar reminders, weather, news, games, and more.

Price:

  • Not yet available, but projected to be $1,550. Watch the Buddy website for details.

Pros:

  • Friendly appearance
  • Includes home monitoring
  • Responds to sight, touch, and sound
  • Communicates and responds to your voice
  • Moves around and charges on its own
  • Automatically updates with new features

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Proprietary software doesn’t include Alexa

Bottom Line:

Buddy is extremely cute, and extremely expensive. Unless you’re blown away by the emotional intelligence of this smart home robot, you may be better off with one of the other choices on our list.

1 comment

Group Imob Bacau
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Posted on Jan 19, 2019

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Amelia Willson
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