Kuri the adorable smart home robot can now detect your face

Kuri, the smart home robot from Bosch internal startup Mayfield Robotics, won a lot of hearts when it debuted at CES in January. Now, the little domestic bot has gained some new abilities, which should help it win minds, too, when it launches officially to pre-order customers later this year.

One of Kuri’s new powers is facial detection, which allows it to tailor its reactions and responses to respond to faces it sees. That means it can smile back at people who smile at it, and watch your face with its eyes while waiting for your next instruction. It’s a big step towards making Kuri a robot that feels like it has emotions and warmth.

The robot’s feature set also now includes an expanding voice command library, meaning it can recognize and respond to “I love you,” “go to sleep” and more, answering back with super cute light shows and animated facial expressions. Mayfield’s whole goal, again, is to make a Kuri feel like a part of the family first, because it thinks that’s the key to creating a domestic bot that people will actually want to have around and use.

In that same vein, Kuri can also look in the direction of sounds now, so if you speak or laugh or talk to someone else it’ll look up at you with those glowing, oddly expressive eyes. Those eyes are another change – the design team has created a new lens shape for the outer layer, which it says “reflects light more naturally” for “lifelike” detail.

Finally, Mayfield now has a formal partnership in the books with IFTTT, which it will use to help expand Kuri’s abilities through integration with connected services and devices. This integration was always on the roadmap, but now the two actually have an agreement in the books to work together.

Pre-orders are still targeting “Holiday 2017” for the first deliveries, but Mayfield says it’s going to provide more regular updates about how development of the animatronic bowling pin are progressing.

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