In the Madrid square of Carlos Trías Beltrán, on the first floor of number 7 and sharing space with the enterprising ecosystem of The Valley, is what is probably the largest robotics collection in Europe. Consumer robotics that has been able to bring together over the last few years Pablo Medrano, CEO of Casual Robots, to make them available to companies, educational centers and direct sales.
Surprisingly, just arrived in space, see robots such as Aibo, developed by Sony in the 90s, or Jibo, the creation of a group of scientists from MIT and could begin to be marketed shortly in Spain for the delight of the most small, or older, thanks to their empathy and characteristics to help in educational tasks.
Pablo Medrano tells how the robots receive two years before they reach the market. Most come from the United States and Japan. ” Although today a robot does not stop being a computer with legs” says Medrano, “they are going to allow us to take an evolutionary leap, since they are a compendium of many technologies”. They are already able to incorporate empathy and personalization. And they are becoming cheaper. Any robot can do today everything your mobile does, and also incorporates the multimedia system that you can have in your home, or Security, or all the home automation functions.
“Up until now, non-industrial robotics has been a real failure, but the conditions are there for this to change,” says the CEO of Casual Robots. However, it is very bold to say that robots are going to evolve in a similar way to the human species. Logically the exponential speeds and being connected to the cloud have achieved unimaginable things in a very short time. “There is talk of 2045, and we will probably arrive before, as the point where the computing capacity will be higher than the human intellect itself.”
The maximum exponent in consumer robotics, in recent years, dates from 2014 with the appearance of the humanoid robot Pepper. For around 2000 dollars, the same as a Smart TV costs, families in Japan could have a machine with a human aspect, but a little silly since it is not capable of doing many things. Pablo Medrano points out that ” in consumer robotics, for years and years, we have been with software far above hardware . Now, however, we have all the hardware ready, with enough power, with the cloud, and the software is far behind“.
The artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies that have joined robotics in recent years, enabling the emergence of social robotics. And they can work with any of the smart digital voice assistants currently on the market, such as Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. “Social robotics is a new brutal business model. We will see this type of robots even for free in the market, because of the great interest in the services that they will be carrying behind.”
Google is the one who is betting more clearly for consumer robotics, with its Android system. Almost all the robots that come onto the market carry the Google operating system. Also the new Pepper, which will be released this summer, will be Android. “Jibo, which has four years of development and an investment of 52 million dollars, is one of the best developed robots that exist. They have been more concerned with the software and the user interface, than with the wow effect of the form factor”. In Jibo Alexa is implemented in English. It has movement limitations, but due to price and evolution capacity it is a good proposal.Entertainment, security and accompaniment are the keys of Jibo. It has 3D cameras and voice interface. And he needs zero learning.”
Mike, Zenbo, Sanbot, Amy, Promobot, are other of the robots that Casual Robots has in their window and that are destined mostly to the social and educational environment for the home. All of them integrate communication, multimedia, security at home, advanced LIDAR sensors, laser emitters, projector, infrared cameras, voice control, multi-touch screens… And although there is still a long way to go to really be useful, They are already here to help us, and to stay.