Glowing digital eyes momentarily turn into hearts, the robot gently closed a “pincer hand” around the phone, lifted it above eye level and took a selfie. This is Aeo, the latest version of a robot from Japanese company Aeolus, on display at CES 2023the world’s largest consumer technology fair.
Aeo is designed to be an assistant, with features including the ability to deliver food and medicine to the elderly. Its attachments are strong enough to lift an 8-pound cooler and gentle enough to hold a phone without dropping it or crushing it with the robot’s mechanical arms.
I also watched Aeo simultaneously maneuver this cooler while a different type of arm zoomed in and UV disinfected a specific surface. Perhaps most interestingly, Aeo is able to complete most of these tasks without much human intervention. The robot, through its sensors, can “see” obstacles in its path and avoid them.
When a human told a robot to pick up a cooler and place it on a table during a CNET demo, Aeo walked around obstacles to see how high it had to raise the cooler in order to put it on the table.
The latest Aeo has a humanoid head, complete with a screen that displays a pair of large eyes, and arms that can be customized as needed. It’s meant to feel more human and help take some weight off the actual human operators. For example, in elderly care facilities, where it is already being used in Japan ever since.
Aeo can also tell the difference between caregivers and patients. It can indicate by looking at a person’s position if they have fallen and need help.
In addition to elderly care facilities, Aeolus hopes to bring its robots into places like offices and schools to help with security patrols. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but the company hopes to rent Aeo robots as a service rather than sell them.
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