Samsung revives Ballie smart robot assistant, adds 1080p projector
Back at CES 2020, Samsung rolled out a bright yellow robot companion called Ballie, which was designed to help out around the home. Now an updated version featuring projection capabilities has been revealed at this year's event.
Where the early Ballie concept shadowed the company's H S Kim on stage in 2020, the updated version made an appearance in video only. It's much larger this time around – about the size of a bowling ball – and looks much closer to production ready.
The smart bot is still shown off in yellow, but features two motor-driven wheels to the front plus a stabilizing roller out back, and gets around autonomously using LiDAR and vision cameras. The video demonstrates its ability to control smart home devices, such as a pet feeder, home lighting and heating/aircon. And there's now a projector included for throwing visuals on flat surfaces such as walls, the floor or ceiling.
Samsung has infused Ballie with AI smarts, and says that it continually learns from user behavior to "provide smarter, more personalized services." Folks can remote connect through a mobile app to check on the home, or send SMS text instructions, while at work or out and about. A microphone and speakers are onboard as well, for voice commands, phone/video calling or playing music.
The device reminds us of the hugely ambitious Keecker project from former Google employee Pierre Lebeau, which ran out of cash in 2019 after selling more than a thousand units. And LG recently made a play for the robo-companion market with its AI Agent. Like those examples, and robovacs of course, it looks as though the Ballie bot won't be able to tackle stairs so may be restricted to use on a lower level or apartment.
Though pricing and availability plans for the rolling home assistant weren't revealed during the CES 2024 press conference, the Washington Post reports that Samsung is planning to release Ballie some time this year. Meanwhile, enjoy the short video below.