Friday, January 08, 2010

CES 2010 rundown - Part2.



Man. I can't believe it's gonna go down this way. Next up on the evisceration list?

Robotics.

I could have gotten a better picture of this product called the I-Fairy, but some part of me marveled at the sadness of a guy interviewing what was basically an animatronic puppet. They are using the term "robot" so loosely - it's laughable. It didn't respond to conversation. It had canned audio. It didn't respond to movement. It had canned movement. You know the product can't be that good when I can't even find a youtube video for it. If you want to check out their site be my guest. Here.

And, when you consider the millions of dollars of research that has been placed into the this sector - they should never have spent the money to fly to the US. Especially when robots like the Roboware E3 from previous shows were starting to come so close to what I can see consumers buying. Video here. I blogged about the machine here in 2008. The problem has always been price, market penetration, and functionality.

None of the guys from any of the robotics conferences I've ever been at, were at CES this year. None of them. People who have been working on this stuff for at least 7 years. Probably longer. But I've been tracking them that long. Not even the Microsoft Robotics Studio was there.

Although Mr S. told me they were still hawking that ridiculous robotic seal from 2004. I blogged about it here.

The whole thing was horribly depressing. The field actually seems to be regressing rather than just stopping and taking a break. Really, really childish amateurish types of products. These are things I would have expected to see at RoboDevelopment 1.

Sure you say - they must be for kids. Right? These items wouldn't have held a three year olds interest for more than a few minutes. I didn't even take pictures. Maybe if I become motivated I'll hunt down what other people covered from the show.

I talked to one vendor - whom I'm not going to even name. They really seemed like the nicest people in the world, and I really liked them. They were demo'ing an elder robot that carried things around. Basically a rolling box. I'm telling you right now, I'm not even here to mock them. I just felt bad about their product. I wanted to tell them they were wasting their money doing on what they were doing. They were out of their league.

They were trying to recreate the wheel. But, who am I to tell them anything, anyway? No one.

I just can't even tell you how many products have come and gone. Some with promise, but didn't catch for whatever reason.

These people. So nice. But, really, really out of their league. It was depressing.

I think that is all I have on this subject. Yet, it's one subject that stings the most. For years I've believed we are right on the cusp of something great. Now I wonder if we aren't in the death rattle. For a while at least. Mostly due to the insane complexities of consumer adoption and functionality. But, also due to the recession. Robotics is just something which is a vast money pit. That doesn't exist right now.

But again. Who am I? Maybe I'm wrong.

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