It looks like a grapefruit. It rolls like a grapefruit. But it most certainly is not a grapefruit. It’s Ballie, a new spherical robot from Samsung.
The new ball-shaped bot made its debut on the stage at Samsung’s CES event on Monday night, appearing alongside HS Kim, who leads the tech giant’s consumer electronics unit.
Kim described Ballie as “Samsung’s vision of a robot as a life companion.”
According to the company, Ballie can patrol your home as a kind of security guard, act as a fitness assistant, and also function as a remote control for the smart devices in your home.
Ballie’s smarts include a built-in camera that enables it to recognize its owner, so it’ll follow you around like a pet dog if you want it to. Though, if you happen to have an actual dog in the home, you’ll be wise to keep an eye on Ballie or it could soon find itself on the receiving end of a severe mauling.
It also makes some R2-D2-like noises so you won’t confuse it with a tennis ball and try to serve it.
During the presentation, Ballie followed Kim as he walked around the stage, keeping a few paces away until it rolled into his hand when he called it. Yes, it was cute, and the audience applauded approvingly.
The executive said the rolling robot will be able to “live by your side and react to your needs every day … so you can focus on what really matters.”
A video (below) played at the event shows Ballie doing a whole lot more than it did on stage — for example, opening smart curtains, turning on the TV for the dog, and firing up a robot vacuum to clean up a spill — suggesting Samsung still has some work to do to incorporate all of its highlighted talents.
Samsung follows a slew of other tech firms in creating a robot companion, though Ballie could turn out to be more useful than most. For an idea of what’s currently available, check out all of these weird and wonderful creations that showed up at last year’s CES. Also, some of you may recall that LG came up with its own Rolling Bot back in 2016. No, we don’t know what happened to that, either.
There’s no information yet on when Samsung might release Ballie, or how much it’ll cost if it does. We’ll keep you posted.
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