Connected Objects

KUMO desktop assistant tries to make you feel less lonely, winds up talking a lot

The modern age isn’t all its cracked up to be. While there are pretty incredible technologies being created every single day, the majority of people’s daily work is done on a single desk with a computer, some tools, etc., leaving lots of people alone while they work.

The team behind the KUMO hope their cup-sized little robot will be enough of a companion throughout the day to eliminate desk loneliness. Its different parts — a camera, microphone, LCD screen, speaker, battery, Wi-Fi module, and USB port — are all encased in a vaguely charming and eternally smiling plastic ghost body. With these parts, it can connect to social platforms and messenger apps like Facebook, Line, and WhatsApp and read out messages to users. In its Greeting mode, it can serve as a desktop assistant by recording messages left by others and pushing it to users’ smartphones while they’re away. In Security mode, KUMO turns into a desktop guardian by taking images and videos of moving objects scheming on valuables and pushing those out, too.

These features are all well and good, but in reality sitting at the desk and having a friend’s message being read out won’t be the difference extreme loneliness and unabated joy, making the KUMO’s $340 asking price hard to swallow. The campaign is looking for a $275,000 infusion to bring KUMO to life by December 29th, with an estimated ship date of August 2016.

While the team behind KUMO has admirable intentions, the idea is porrly executed. It simply has no personality and when compared to products like Amazon’s Echo or even the notoriously unreliable Siri, it doesn’t really get much done. Companies and co-working spaces are trying their best to make the everyday grind less of one by including more interactive working spaces and have done a fantastic job at doing so. I doubt a small plastic buddy with a TFT screen will do much more.


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