It goes without saying that you wouldn’t mind having a domestic robot cleaning up after your kids while organizing your life and keeping the fridge full. It’s the future we were all promised, which is why Amazon’s announcement of it’s voice-controlled Amazon Echo smart speaker garnered a fair bit of hyperventilating in certain tech-centric circles. Echo is just the latest in what’s proving to be the year of the home robot, and while none of the following devices are going to vacuum up a hallway full of Legos or spot clean a car seat, some of them may actually make your life easier – or way more creepy. Here’s a list of the best home robots on the market.
Best Home Robots: Amazon Echo
- What It Is: A marriage (holy or unholy depending on your feelings about either product) of Siri and Sonos, Amazon Echo is an internet-enabled speaker that understands and responds to requests.
- What It Does: Creates and organizes shopping and to-do lists; answers basic questions through internet searches, streams music from Amazon Music Library, Prime Music, TuneIn and iHeartRadio, provides news and weather reports.
- Why It’s Awesome: If you’re already addicted to Amazon, it’s going to make buying stuff really, really easy.
- Why It’s Creepy: Amazon is currently just ok at profiling you; Amazon Echo is pretty much the equivalent of inviting an Amazon employee to move in with you and start taking notes.
Best Home Robots: Jibo
Best Home Robots: Keecker
- What It Is: The closest mankind has come to inventing R2D2, Keecker is a mobile home entertainment system that cruises around your house and shows video on flat surfaces with a 1080p DLP projector and sound system that includes a mobile subwoofer.
- What It Does: Lets you stream movies, watch TV or play video games anywhere in and around the house – like in the backyard or on the ceiling above your bed (if you’re into that kind of thing). It also provides basic home security features like motion and carbon monoxide detection.
- Why It’s Awesome: The product video features a kid going to sleep with the entire Milky Way projected around his room, which is pretty awesome. DLP projector installations are pricey, so the idea of having a mobile indoor/outdoor solution in one unit is cool, too.
- Why It’s Creepy: The home security functions are pitched as the first step toward a mobile home sentry, and there have been exactly zero examples of that ending well in science fiction.
Best Home Robots: Pepper
- What It Is: A 4-foot-high, internet-enabled humanoid robot with 3D cameras for eyes and an ultrasound system that helps it move around without bumping into things.
- What It Does: Provide companionship. Pepper’s manufacturer clearly states, “At the risk of disappointing you, he doesn’t clean, doesn’t cook and doesn’t have superpowers.” Pepper is programmed to recognize and react to human emotions and apparently not much else. It will be able to look things up online for you, though – so it’s like the world’s most expensive version of Google Now.
- Why It’s Awesome: Pepper’s entire reason for being is to be a robot companion to humans, which means he could one day look after your kids in daycare or your parents as they get older.
- Why It’s Creepy: On second thought, are you sure you want that thing anywhere near your kids?