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Samsung's first personal robot is a rolling ball that understands you

Samsung's Ballie robot is a spherical rolling ball that can follow you around, command other smart home devices, and more.

Published onJanuary 7, 2020

Samsung Ballie CES 2020

Samsung’s CES 2020 press conference was more about human-centered tech than devices that would actually make it to market. The company talked a lot about IoT, smart cities, 5G, and personal care solutions. Amongst them was Samsung’s new personal robot, Ballie (pronounced Ball-E).

Ballie is a spherical rolling robot that would remind you of Sphero’s BB-8 Star Wars droid. Samsung calls it, “a human-centric vision of robots that takes personalized care to the next level.”

The robot is designed to help people around the house using on-device AI. The company did not reveal much about it, but you can see that it houses a camera in the front to help with navigation.

During Samsung’s keynote, Ballie followed Samsung CEO Hyun-Suk Kim around the stage. A demo showed the bot triggering other smart home appliances like a robot vacuum cleaner. It also responded with some robotic sounds while reacting to voice commands. A similar demo was later tweeted out by Samsung. You can watch it in the embedded tweet below.

Meet #Ballie, Samsung’s human-centric vision of robots that takes personalized care to the next level. The small rolling robot, “understands you, supports you, and reacts to your needs.” #CES2020 #SamsungCES2020
— Samsung US Newsroom (@SamsungNewsUS) January 7, 2020

Will Samsung ever launch Ballie?

Sebastian Seung, Executive VP and Chief Research Scientist at Samsung explained that Ballie’s “On-Device AI capabilities enable it to be a fitness assistant and a mobile interface that seeks solutions for people’s changing needs. It does all this while maintaining stringent data protection and privacy standards.”

Clearly, Samsung is being very cryptic about Ballie’s capabilities and the tech inside it. The roller bot is still very much a concept rather than a full-blown product. The company is probably just setting the stage for future technologies and devices rather than jumping head-on into the personal robotics space.

That said, we wouldn’t wager money on Ballie becoming a market-ready device anytime soon.

In other news, Samsung finally confirmed a launch timeline for the Galaxy Home Mini smart speaker. You can read all about it here.

Head here for other important announcements from CES 2020.