(Tech Xplore)—The Mayfield Robotics team introduced Kuri earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Kuri is now in the news again, though, because the little home robot has some interesting updates, and the highlight is something called Kuri Vision.
Kuri can record moments from life at home automatically, and even capture moments you might have missed. Family members interacting, the kinds of moments you might like to keep and share.
In one of several promotional videos, a family member informs the audience that their little Kuri can do a number of things—and record videos of life at home. "It's been non-stop robots since we introduced Kuri to the world at CES this year," according to the company blog.
Mayfield Robotics in addition to the autonomous home video feature has other improvements worth noting, such as track wheels and structural updates.
Expect to see a comfortable handle; new wheels look more like tracks. IEEE Spectrum noted how the wheels collapse up into the robot's body to absorb shock and help it manage obstacles. CNET said the treads allow it to wander across a carpet and bumps up to 2 centimeters high.
Kuri gets to know your house in an interesting way, via navigation using a laser sensor array. Alyssa Pagano in IEEE Spectrum wrote about Kuri's method of knowing your home's layout.
When you first bring Kuri home, she said, "it uses a laser sensor array to create a map. It then uses that map for reference, so it keeps track of its location. This map makes it easy to tell Kuri where to go." A video shows Kuri, when "tired," parking on a dock mat. CNET's Scott Stein said, "When Kuri charges, the eyes close with physical shutters."
As for communicating, one might say Kuri's own language is limited to a vocabulary of three. it understands your commands but it "talks" in chirps and beeps—and what Pagano calls "bloops."
"When robots try to communicate in human language, they often make mistakes that frustrate the user. Even when it's not annoying, sometimes it's just uncanny and creepy. Mayfield reduced the chance of that confusion by giving Kuri a language of its own," she wrote.
Still, the key add of interest to Kuri has to be the Kuri Vision. The company said, "Part of what makes Kuri Vision possible is Kuri's deep learning-based computer vision capabilities. This allows Kuri to not only detect people and pets, but to also recognize specific family members."
Kuri Vision allows the little companion to take video autonomously. The technology underpinning includes two high definition 1080p cameras, one behind each eye.
"These cameras take videos intermittently throughout the day, capturing candid moments. You can then review those clips through the app, which runs on iOS and Android, and choose which ones you like best. Then Kuri's machine learning and image processing kicks in: Based on which images you favorite or delete, Kuri learns to take videos that you'll like," said Pagano.
As CNET pointed out, left to its own devices, "it will take 5-second-long "vignettes" (short videos) eight times a day and deliver them to you to look at on its app."
The company blog said you highlight the videos you want to share, and can post them to social channels or messaging apps in a few steps.
That does not mean you have no control. CNET's Stein said, "You don't need to turn Kuri Vision, as the feature is called, on all the time. It can be set to certain parts of the house, or certain times of day."
The company blog similarly explained that "Of course, with Kuri Vision, you have complete control over when and where Kuri captures videos. You can designate specific times of the day and locations for her to capture moments, and you can turn this feature off at any time. "
Apparently, Kuri has already stolen hearts. The $799 robot will debut in homes in December, said a video, while the company site stated that the "First Kuri production wave" was sold out. They said they are now taking pre-orders "for second wave, shipping Spring 2018."