Yet the clear darling of this year’s show was not a gadget but the growing amount of artificial intelligence software helping these products run. The race between Amazon and Google to be the go-to service for integration of consumer products was on full display. In many booths, signs prominently advertised that products worked with Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa. The smart home, car and TV all seemed to have been touched by Amazon or Google.
“It’s the year of A.I. and conversational interfaces,” said J. P. Gownder, an analyst for Forrester Research.
Zipping along the convention floor were robots yielding a host of skills. One robot, Nimbo, top, works as an intelligent security system that can be programmed to patrol specific routes. Another robot, iPal, above, serves as companion to older and younger users. Designed by AvatarMind, the $1,500 humanoid robot can remind elders to take medicine or greet children at the door.
Sony’s new robot dog, Aibo, also stopped conventiongoers who took time to rub their hands on its hard-surface head.
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