Robots at the CES

robots in retail
Walker the Robotic Assistant

Robots starred at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

The CES is a gadget-lovers’ paradise and offers consumers a glimpse of the future.  CES is owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).  The show attracts the world’s business leaders and pioneering thinkers.

Robots were winning over visitors to the show.

CES 2019 was held from January 8 to 11 and with more than 4,400 exhibitors and over 1,000 start-ups, there was something new lurking around every corner… including Personal Robot Assistants.   Yes, the time has come to have your own personal robot assistant! 

What can Robots do?

Many new robots now have advanced capabilities.  There was even a robot at the show that can fold your laundry for you!

A Robot named “Walker” can become part of your family with its own personality, thanks to the sophistication of Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Walker will even bribe you with snacks!

Robotic Assistant
Robotic Assistant

A Simple Robot Kit

Small Robot Project

A few years ago, I bought myself a small robot kit.

The kit was part of the MOVIT range of toy robot kits.  Only basic hand tools were required for assembly.  The kits allowed the builder to experience and learn about such things as sound sensing, remote control, infrared sensing, wired control and/or programmable memory.  Each project was designed to entertain as well as educate.

The particular model that I bought was called the SPIDER and featured an infrared sensor to detect objects in its path.  The robot had six legs to propel it along and could emit an infrared light beam to detect an obstacle in front and then automatically turn left and continue on.  The movement was by crank motion using three legs on each side.  The power source was one 9V and two AA batteries.

Kit Assembly

Assembly of the robot project was quite intricate but I managed to fit all the pieces together and when I inserted the batteries and switched it on, it did start to move around.  Unfortunately, the movement was not what I expected and the little SPIDER robot started to dance rapidly around in circles!  With a little adjustment however and tightening of screws, the unit was encouraged to behave and walk towards a wall.  It was able to approach the wall and detect its presence with its infrared “eye” and turn left as it was designed to do.

The robot’s capabilities were limited but it was effective as an educational project, demonstrating such features as infrared obstacle detection and crank action propulsion.

The kit was from a company named OWI and the product range was called Movit Electronic robot kits.  These days their range has expanded to include mini-solar kits and alternative energy kits.

OWI now describes itself as the number one robotics and science kit provider.

The Movit line was a series of computerised and logic-controlled battery toy robot kits that could teach the basic principles of robotic sensing and locomotion.  Each of the kits featured pre-assembled printed circuit boards, hardware and mechanical drive systems that could be handled by anyone from ages 10 and up.

Small Robot Project
The SPIDER robot kit