BARCELONA—Have you ever wanted an Amazon Echo to follow you around and maybe carry your drinks? Enter Temi, a personal robot that can be your butler, DJ, weatherman, and streaming portal.
Temi looks a bit like some of the enterprise video chatbots you might see rolling around the office, rather than the vaguely bipedal automaton most people imagine. Its “face” is a 10-inch Quad HD display attached to a sturdy and stylish body that finishes off at a wheeled, motorized base. The battery, along with most of the sensors that let it visualize a room and detect objects, are located in the base. “We want it to be very safe, very simple,” Danny Isserles, head of Temi’s New York HQ.
The Temi is stable enough so it won’t tip over if knocked by a pet or child. It can even be used as a mobility tool for the elderly, a sort of motorized cane that lets them put weight on it when standing up. In fact, the Temi was first envisioned by Temi founder and CEO Yossi Wolf as a personal assistance robot for the elderly, who noticed his grandmother’s hand shaking as she tried to serve tea.
Outside of its ability to navigate the first floor of your house to deliver things, Temi can also respond dynamically to new objects. For instance, it can differentiate between an object that’s fixed, like your living room couch, versus a dog lying on the floor. In the case of the couch, it’ll remember its position, while it’ll realize the dog is mobile and take that into account when avoiding it.
But the real value of Temi comes from its role as a mobile hub for smart home and multimedia functionality. In some ways, the Temi is like an Echo Show. You can give it voice commands like, “Temi, what’s the weather?” or “Temi, play some Madonna,” and the robot will respond. When it comes to audio, it has Harman Kardon-powered woofers and tweeters. In the crowded and noisy demo area, the sound was loud enough to be overpowering and the bass vibrations strong enough to feel under my feet.
The aforementioned 10-inch Quad HD screen also delivers crisp video, currently from YouTube, but there are plans to expand the range of streaming services. Potentially you could watch Netflix in your kitchen or bathroom, once it’s available. Video streaming and video calling are also big aspects. Temi has some fairly crisp cameras on the front of its display, and it can access your contacts to make video calls. Potentially it serves as a mobile home security camera as well, since you can view its video feed via an app, as well as control it directly.
And if you ever want to feel like you’re living in the future, Temi can also interact with your other smart devices, like a Philips Hue bulb or Ecobee thermostat. Functionality is still being rolled out, but the Temi can know when you’re coming home and greet you by turning on the light and adjusting the temperature to your liking. Once you’re done with Temi, you can tell it to return to a particular room in the house. Its battery is good for 8 hours and it will return to its charging dock automatically to recharge.
Connectivity is provided by dual-band Wi-Fi with 4G LTE as a backup for when your Wi-Fi isn’t working. Isserles says it’s still unclear if Temi will require a separate service plan (presumably so), because those issues haven’t been sorted out. Firmware updates will be delivered OTA at night.
Priced at $1,499, the Temi is one of the most affordable personal robot we’ve seen, especially when considering the hardware and functionality like collision avoidance, video streaming, and smart home integration. Once the Temi begins to ship to early adopters in the coming months, it could very well be the first real robot you see in someone’s home.