The LG CLOi range of robots has expanded dramatically over the past year, with products starting to be rolled out in the real-world, serving their human masters. At the LG Science Park in Seoul, South Korea, Trusted Reviews got a chance to get up-close and personal with the latest incarnations of CLOi.
After coming across a little shy at the CES 2018 LG press conference, the CLOi personal assistant was in a far better mood this time around. Effectively a smart speaker with a cute face, this CLOi is an attempt to make robots that bit more endearing. Largely, it works.
Pat CLOi on the head and she gets all happy and hunkers down; tap her on the face and she gets annoyed and spins around to stare at you. That’s a level of interaction that you don’t get from an Amazon Echo.
More practically, CLOi can follow the sound of your voice, turning to look at you as you ask her things. That makes interactions more personal, and it feels like you’re talking to someone, rather than throwing around commands aimlessly.
Currently, CLOi is powered by Clova, a South Korean-developed personal assistant. She has all of the features you’d expect, and can give you information or even sing you a song. LG told us that it’s currently working with both Google and Amazon, so we could eventually see a CLOi in the UK powered by Alexa or the Google Assistant. No official launch information has yet been released.
Related: Amazon Alexa guide
The other robots in the CLOi line-up are of a more practical, industrial purpose. The GuideBot, which is working at Seoul’s Incheon airport, can help direct people to where they need to go, navigating itself and prompting you to follow.
Its companion at Incheon airport is CleanBot, a kind of super-charged robot vacuum cleaner that merrily makes its way around, keeping everything clean. It even speaks, asking you to move, as it’s currently cleaning.
Built along similar lines are the ServeBot, PorterBot and CartBot. These are, respectively, designed to bring food and drink, carry your luggage, and help with your shopping at the supermarket. And they’ll be rolled out in South Korea soon.
What’s striking about these industrial robots is that they’re designed for very specific purposes and are functional and utilitarian, rather than being overly clever and human-like, such as the Honda Asimo.
They’re too big to have in our homes, but in larger spaces (shopping centres, hotels and airports), they fit in perfectly. Really, these robots are the first steps (or rolls, in this case) into the future.
How do you feel about robots? Would you like on in your home? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @TrustedReviews.