From robot companions to artificial intelligence, pet tech showcased at CES


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(11 Jan 2019) LEAD IN :
Companies at CES 2019 are showcasing the latest technology designed for pets.
Products include robotic pets, robots that play with dogs and cats and a bowl that allows only authorized animals to access food.
Lovot is a simple robot with just one aim – to make its owner happy.
It can’t carry on long conversations, but it’s still social – approaching people so they can interact, moving around a space to create a digital map, responding to being embraced.
Lovot’s horn-shaped antenna – featuring a 360-degree camera – recognizes its surroundings and detects the direction of sound and voices.
Lovot is the brainchild of Groove X CEO Kaname Hayashi, who previously worked on SoftBank’s Pepper, a humanoid robot that briefly appeared in a few U.S. shopping malls two years ago.
Hayashi wants to create a real connection between people and robots and believes he has created a robot that can be a pet for people who don’t have the time to care for one.
The Lovot is outfitted sensors that detect its environment, facial recognition and a computer that can recognize up 1,000 people and remembers interactions.
“They are just recognizing you and coming to you and they understand how to communicate with non-verbal communications,” Hayashi explains.
The robotic pet is expected to retail for $3,000 USD.
Does man’s best friend need a robotic pal of its own? Some startups think so.
“There’s a big problem with separation anxiety, obesity and depression in pets,” says Bee-oh Kim, a marketing manager for robotics firm Varram.
The company’s $99 robot is essentially a moving treat dispenser that motivates pets to chase it around
A herd of the small, dumbbell-shaped robots zoomed around a pen at the show – though there were no canine or feline conference attendees to show how the machines really work.
Varram’s robot takes two hours to charge and can run for 10 hours – just enough time to allow a pet’s guilt-ridden human companion to get home from work.
Kim says the gadget is priced to make it accessible to a large number of pet owners.
“It has infrared sensors that notices obstacles and also notices a touch, it has a sensor for touches But we also have technology for cameras and a mike so we’re getting all these feedbacks but the point of this is trying to make this simple and cheap as possible so everyone can get it.”
But not all pet tech products are designed just for pets. Some companies display their products to showcase the technology that’s embedded inside.
“There’s some companies out there who do pet tech because that’s their product but there are a few companies out there, like Volta which their product, their technology is AI. So they’re just showcasing a product but what they’re really doing is improving their AI and at different levels of AI. That’s the basic AI for cats but you could do humans and other things as well,” says Jonathan Roubini, a tech journalist and analyst.
Volta’s Mookkie pet bowl uses face recognition to open a flap to allow only authorized pets to access food,.
“We are expert in development of AI-centric products and the shaping of this product around artificial intelligence so designing from zero with new incredible ingredient at the center of development of the product. We did some brainstorming for generating new concepts, new ideas, we’re already working with several big companies designing a product and engineering products around AI,” says Silvio Revelli, CEO of Volta.

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