Kuri the adorable smart home robot is now more expressive than ever

Kuri, the smart home robot from Bosch internal startup Mayfield Robotics, won a lot of hearts when it debuted at CES in January.  Now, the little domestic bot has gained some new abilities. On Thursday, Mayfield pulled back the curtains on major Kuri speech and animation milestones.

Kuri is a 20-inch-tall home robot that’s packed to the brim with technologies like asynchronous motors, a capacitive touch sensor, microphones, speakers, and an HD camera. But unlike most other home robots, it has a personality — it reacts when you call its name, and it emotes when you tell it to perform a task.

First of all, One of Kuri’s new powers is facial detection, which allows it to tailor its reactions and responses to respond to faces it sees. That means it can smile back at people who smile at it, and watch your face with its eyes while waiting for your next instruction. It’s a big step towards making Kuri a robot that feels like it has emotions and warmth.

In addition, the robot recognized voice commands more understands than before. You can say things like, “Hey Kuri, stop,” and it’ll stop what it’s doing, or, “Hey Kuri, play the news” to begin an National Public Radio (NPR) stream. And it’s now smart enough to head in the direction of a room you’ve saved — you if you say, “Hey Kuri, got to the kitchen,” for example, it will do as instructed.

Image Source: Kuri


Last but not least, its hardware has been improved. The newest iteration uses shielded motor sensors cables that cut down on electrical noise, reduces interference with smart home electronics and smart phones enable “smoother, life-like” animations.

It’s all in keeping with the company’s mission: Creating a lifelike robot with a sense of empathy. “It doesn’t feel like a robot in the traditional sense and it connects to people in a different way than normal tech — it’s very much about what people feel.” Chris Matthews said. (Mayfield’s vice president of marketing)

Finally, Mayfield now has a formal partnership in the books with IFTTT, which it will use to help expand Kuri’s abilities through integration with connected services and devices. This integration was always on the road map, but now the two actually have an agreement in the books to work together.



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