Maker/Development
Personal Robot combines home automation with facial recognition, other technologies

editors-choiceHaving a device in the house that can function as a personal assistant, while also serving as a home automation system would come in handy. Especially when it combines far-field voice recognition with emotion, facial and object recognition. Introducing the Personal Robot, one such device, from the New York-based company Robotbase.

Personal Robot features a 3D depth camera and noise canceling microphone array technology, and it can communicate with the user’s connected devices via wireless Z-Wave Plus, Zigbee, BLE and Wi-Fi. The far-field voice recognition enables the device to hear the user’s commands all the way from the other side of the room. The user can ask Personal Robot for information including the local weather, news, sports scores and recipes, as the video on its Kickstarter campaign shows. The device can also be used to play music, schedule meetings, set alarms, and control the temperature in a home to save energy and money. Backers who pledge $995 will get one when it ships in December. Its maker set a goal of raising $50,000 on Kickstarter.

Other devices on the market have attempted some of the same functionality. But Personal Robot’s advanced software, which incorporates deep learning algorithms, give it an advantage over some competing products. Some consumers might find the computer-animated female character that is featured on the device’s screen a bit creepy, although the device’s maker says the user can change how she looks.