Service Robots

CES 2015 Mega Round-Up: Camera Drones, Self-Driving Cars, Personal Robots, 3D Printed Clothing and More

BMW i3 and Galaxy Gear

The 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada this week, was the stage of interesting new concepts, technologies and products, some of which will be made available to the consumer market later this year, some will take longer to implement and some will not even make it at all. CES 2015 was rich in robotics innovations and IoT connected products are becoming more and more widespread as big companies are embracing the concept. This year’s exhibition was rich in aerial camera drones, 3D printing innovations, and car manufacturers were more present than ever.

International CES 2015

In this article, by no means exhaustive, I tried to gather the most interesting products and concepts featured in the news or otherwise. So, enough talk let’s take a look at this year’s happening.

AirDog camera drone won the “Best Robot or Drone” award

AirDog received this award thanks to it’s “clear focus” as a personal aerial camera drone. The drone is compact, foldable and easy to transport, and can autonomously follow you based on several routines. The drone supports GoPro and Sony action cameras and will be available for sale later this year.

[yellow_box]Read more AirDog Autonomous Auto-Following Drone Could Be Your Faithful Camera Sidekick[/yellow_box]

Interesting products and concepts presented by Parrot, some awarded

Parrot presented connected products and concepts for automotive, household, wearable sport trackers and of course multicopter drones, including Bebop which is already on sale.

[yellow_box]Read more Parrot Bebop Drone Now Available in Stores[/yellow_box]

What stood out was the eXom, made by Parrot’s division senseFly, which is a professional autonomous quadcopter drone capable of aerial mapping of constructions, aiding civil engineers in their inspection work.

The eXom drone is equipped with five vision sensors which render information in 3D and five ultrasonic sensors for safely avoiding objects.

Intel’s CES 2015 keynote shows off amazing new technologies

Intel has put up an amazing demonstration, led by CEO Brian Krzanich, presenting technologies they are working on. The high point of their presentation were the obstacle avoiding aerial drones equipped with RealSense vision technology. Nixie, the wearable selfie drone, was also present and they also presented Curie, a button-sized electronics module for wearables.

[yellow_box]Read more Intel Curie: A Tiny Module for Tomorrow’s Wearables[/yellow_box]

HEXO+ camera drone made its debut

With a sleek looking airframe, and an attractive color scheme the HEXO+ made its appearance at the event. Equipped with 6 rotors and capable of carrying a GoPro action camera, the drone will be available to buy later this year.

HEXO+ at CES 2015
HEXO+ at CES 2015 | Photo: Engadget

[yellow_box]Read more HEXO+ Autonomous Camera Drone Will Capture Your Stunts from the Sky[/yellow_box]

The Qualcomm Snapdragon Cargo drone seems impressive

The cargo drone from Qualcomm can roll on its tracks, pick up the payload and fly off with it. With a vision-based obstacle detection system the drone can fly safely from point to point.

Other notable aerial drones and products

  • ZANO, the palm-sized camera drone was also at the show. Kickstarted earlier last year the microdrone can be controlled from your iPhone to fly around and take pictures.
  • Ghost drone, which was first introduced in November 2014 in a crowdfunding campaign made it to the show.
  • New accessories for DJI Phantom drones were presented.
  • The TRACE R1 quadcopter drone was also spotted.
  • All drones photographed via Photography Bay

Robotbase introduces the Personal Robot, a telepresence solution with AI

With a very simple name, the Robotbase Personal Robot aims to be more than a telepresence robot. Sporting powerful hardware and plenty of sensors, the 1.2 meter (4 feet) tall robot aims to be the ultimate household companion that can see, hear and understand natural language, visual commands and can check every aspect of your house. The Kickstarter campaign was officially launched at CES, and it can be preordered for a minimum pledge of US $995.

Keecker is a different type of household robot

Keeker is practically a video projector on wheels but it can also perform other tasks around the house. Dubbed as a Homepod it was created by Pierre Lebeau, ex-Google product manager back in 2013 and presented as a Kickstarter campaign in September last year. Its public release is expected in Fall 2015.

Keecker can be remote controlled from any iOS or Android device via Wi-Fi, and it can also monitor ambient parameters around the house, such as humidity, temperature and CO2 levels. To accompany its 90 degree projector it also features a surround sound system and a 1 TB hard drive. A 360 degree camera streams video to your mobile device.

Samsung introduced the advanced POWERbot VR9000 vacuum cleaner robot

Samsung presented their vision of future smart household appliances. Along with an array of IoT connected kitchen appliances such as the T9000 refrigerator or dual oven with VirtualFlame technology, and range of countless smart TV models, they also introduced the POWERbot VR9000 autonomous vacuum cleaner, to directly compete with iRobot’s Roomba lineup.

Samsung POWERbot VR9000
Samsung POWERbot VR9000 | Photo: Samsung

With an array of cameras and sensors, and 60 times better suction than competitors, Samsung’s vacuum robot promises to offer much better obstacle avoidance capabilities and utility. The robot can drive autonomously or be remote controlled, and it can return to the charging station on its own.

Other interesting service robots

  • FURO-i and FURO-S assistant robots from Korean company Future Robot.
  • Bocco is a small robot that can send and receive voice messages via Wi-Fi from a smartphone running an app. It is aimed at parents communicating with small children.
  • Ozobot showed off it’s potential as an educational tool. The tiny robots could be used to teach kids to code through drawing, by using Google Blockly.
  • Chihira Aico is Toshiba’s female communication android, which looks pretty weird. First presented last year at CEATEC in Japan, the android is equipped with a total of 43 actuators, 15 for facial movements, 24 handle shoulder and arm movements, and another 4 throughout the body.

MakerBot presents new “maker-friendly” materials and receives award

MakerBot presented upgrades for their apps and services, new strategic partnerships and new additions to their DIY-focused ecosystem.

Makerbot PLA composite filaments
Makerbot PLA composite filaments

Their new line of metal, stone and wood PLA composite filaments was awarded as it will open new possibilities for 3D printed objects. A compatible line of extruders will also be available later this year.

3D printed Spider Dress 2.0 powered by Intel Edison

And speaking of 3D printing, Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht presented a 3D printed spider dress with moving tentacles and lights, all powered by an Intel Edison.

Airwolf 3D introduced a new 3D printer and showcased a fully printed outfit

Airwolf 3D have presented their new AW3D HD-R 3D printer with a layer resolution of 60 microns, dual extruders, that features control from an Android tablet and showcased a fully 3D printed dress, shoes, bag and accessories with “Sandy the Materials Girl”.

Versaball robot plays beer pong like no other

US company Empire Robotics have put up a very interesting demonstration of their Versaball robotic arm gripper, by challenging everyone at a game of beer pong. We’re not sure if all the premises were created, but one thing is for sure, the Versaball gripper attached to a robotic arm made by Universal Robotics, beat Daniel Grover who happens to be a professional beer pong champion.

Mercedes-Benz introduces the F 015 luxury self-driving car concept

Mercedes-Benz is one of the most innovative car manufacturers to date, so their presence at CES is no surprise. What is amazing however is that they never cease to amaze us with their technologies and concepts, which will probably make it to their cars at some point.

This year they presented a reinterpretation of the self-driving car concept with their F 015 research vehicle taglined “Luxury in Motion”, which is no overstatement, based on the presentation led by CEO Dieter Zetsche.

The F 015 is an electric hybrid vehicle, powered by fuel cells and batteries at a 80/20 ratio. An app for wearables or smartphones allows the user to remote control various functions of the car, such as parking or calling the car to pick up the owner. The smartphone or wearable can also act as the car key.

Mercedes-Benz superb keynote at CES was focused on in-car infotainment systems with massive touchscreen displays and quality immersive audio, built around each occupant of the vehicle.

Jack, the self-driving Audi A7 arrives at CES on its own

The Audi A7 self-driving car, named Jack, completed safely the 885 kilometer (550 miles) journey from San Francisco Bay Area to Las Vegas in two days. This was a huge gamble for Audi’s engineers, since last year this stunt did not quite work out and an Audi representative had to take the wheel. Part of their “Piloted Driving” series of concepts, Jack was successfully presented at CES this year.

[yellow_box] Read more Audi Piloted Driving Concept Impresses at Hockenheimring GP Circuit[/yellow_box]

The smartwatch controlled BMW i3 can pick up its driver, avoid obstacles and park autonomously

BMW showcased their connected BMW i3 electric vehicle with integrated app control and autonomous capabilities on short distances. The BMW representative demonstrated these abilities by sending commands to the car via an app installed on a Samsung Galaxy Gear watch.

BMW i3 and Galaxy Gear
BMW i3 and Galaxy Gear | Photo: BMW

Hyundai offers vehicle remote control from Android devices via Blue Link

Hyundai integrate their Blue Link service with Android Wear devices. The Blue Link app will be available for the general public later this year and will allow you to control various functions of the car, such as start or stop the engine, lock or unlock doors, locate your car or call assistance. Blue Link is currently available in the US on all Hyundai vehicles except the Accent.

Hyundai Blue Link integrated with smart devices
Hyundai Blue Link integrated with smart devices | Photo: Hyundai

For more keynotes, interviews and participants please check out CES official website.

Well this is it, hopefully you liked this round-up, please feel free to tell us what you thought was interesting at this year’s show, or maybe point out what I have probabily missed.

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