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Robots are stealing the show at CES 2020

But some of them might be more practical than others

Photo (c) PhonlamaiPhoto - Getty Images
Robots are a major presence at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), providing a wide range of functions.

Stealing the spotlight, however, is Charmin’s Rollboll, a phone-controlled robot that will deliver a new roll of toilet paper to the bathroom if you suddenly discover that you are out and are in no position to find a replacement. Charmin teamed with GoLab to introduce other bathroom technologies that may or may not become part of American households.

The Roboll is not yet for sale, but it’s presence at the huge technology show has served to get Charmin, a maker of bathroom products, into the discussion about technology.

Robot server

Shenzhen Pudu Technology Co. is also at the show with a robot that is available for purchase. BellaBot is basically a serving device with four trays. The interface screen bears the electronic image of a cat and it moves as stealthily around the room as a feline.

Ben Zheng, the company’s marketing director, says the latest version launched in December and is popular because of its easy program interface. Using an onscreen keypad, an operator can instruct the BellaBot to make a delivery to a specific location. 

“We sell this product in more than 120 countries including the United States, Germany, and Singapore,” Zheng told ConsumerAffairs.

A seemingly natural function of the BellaBot would be to deliver food in a restaurant, and Zheng says a few restaurants have purchased the device.

“If a restaurant buys this robot, it most likely will be a formal dining establishment,” he said. “It’s probably not going to be used in most fast-food restaurant settings.”

Rather, Zheng says the company has gotten a lot of interest from hotels, airports, and hospitals, which are no strangers to robotics.

Charging robot

Another practical robot making its debut at CES 2020 is a roving wireless charging robot from GuRu Wireless. The company has introduced three models that can simultaneously charge multiple electronic devices from a distance.

The Roomba-like, roving robots are providing a way to charge all household digital devices at once.

"The time has come to deliver what others have been promising for over a decade," said Florian Bohn, GuRu's co-founder and CEO. "For a technological era that we've been calling wireless, we still have a lot of wires in our lives.” 

Modern electronic devices often have inductive charging coils built-in that allow them to be charged wirelessly through resonant inductive coupling. But this method requires direct contact between the device and a charging pad.

Bohn says GuRu has advanced the concept to allow these devices to recharge their batteries completely untethered.

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