British robotics startup Emotech has unveiled a robot with a unique personality at the ongoing CES 2017 tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada. The device happens to be a doughnut-shaped, AI-powered voice-controlled smart lifestyle assistant called Olly, which makes use of deep learning techniques for accurate speech recognition. According to Emotech, over the course of time, Olly will also gain the ability for emotional interaction with humans, thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence that will help the innocuous little device learn about its owner’s habits and interests as it goes along. Olly has already started getting attention from all the right quarters, and has won this year’s CES innovation Awards across four separate categories, including Smart Home, Drones and Unmanned Systems, Home Appliances and Home A/V components.
While at first glance the device seems more or less along the same lines as some of the other AI-powered devices that have entered the market over the past couple of years or so, the fact is, it does come with a few interesting new features that we haven’t seen earlier. For example, Olly will reportedly develop a personality of its own, based on its interactions with its owner. There are also a few novel - if gimmicky - little features, like the multicolored lights that will change colors depending on the subject matter of the conversation, and the ability to swivel towards the source of the voice-command. Eventually, it will even be able to predict its owner’s behavior, and do stuff like turning on the lights and play songs based on its understanding of its owner’s mood during a particular part of the day.
The underlying OS powering Olly is based on Android, and Emotech apparently has plans to release an SDK for third-party apps that will, hopefully, increase Olly’s functionality further. If you’re excited about the new device and want to get your hands on it right now, you’ll be disappointed, though. Commercial production is only expected to start in Q3 this year, and while there’s no official word as yet about its pricing, some reports are suggesting that it might be priced around the $700 mark at launch. The Emotech Olly is expected to compete in the market with devices like the Amazon Echo, Google Home and the newly-launched Lenovo Smart Assistant.