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[CES 2020] Samsung unveils life companion bot Ballie

Korean tech giant declares ‘age of experience’ where people demand more new experiences with seamless devices

LAS VEGAS -- A small spherical yellow robot, called Ballie, stole the show during a keynote speech by Samsung Electronics’ CEO in Las Vegas on Monday.

The South Korean tech giant unveiled its brand new personal care robot, declaring artificial intelligence to be the future of personalized care.

Kim Hyun-suk, chief executive officer of Samsung’s consumer electronics division, shared the stage with the ball-shaped bot that rolled around the stage during his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show 2020.

He introduced Ballie as a “life companion” that understands, supports and reacts to users’ needs to be actively helpful around the house. 

Samsung Electronics CEO Kim Hyun-suk presents life companion bot Ballie during his keynote speech at CES 2020 in Las Vegas on Monday. (Samsung Electronics)
Samsung Electronics CEO Kim Hyun-suk presents life companion bot Ballie during his keynote speech at CES 2020 in Las Vegas on Monday. (Samsung Electronics)

“Walk with me,” the Samsung CEO told Ballie, and the robot dutifully tracked behind him. When he said, “stay away from me,” it kept its distance even when he attempted to get closer.

Equipped with a computer vision program and Samsung’s on-device AI capabilities, Ballie can recognize the user, listen to a person’s commands and execute them. It can even alert users of their daily tasks by controlling other devices and home appliances.

Ballie can also capture moments of a family with its camera and play with kids or pets.

Sebastian Seung, chief research scientist at Samsung, elaborated on Ballie, explaining that the company’s on-device AI capabilities enable it to be a fitness assistant and a mobile interface that seeks solutions for people’s changing needs.

“We believe AI is the future of personalized care,” stated Seung. “We see on-device AI as central to truly personalized experiences. An on-device AI puts you in control of your information and protects your privacy, while still delivering the power of personalization.”

The Samsung keynote speech was titled “Age of Experience,” indicating a time when people demand more novel experiences.

The new age will transform how people care for themselves and their families, how people can customize their homes to meet their individual needs and how they can build safer, more sustainable intelligent cities, the tech giant proposed.

With its human-centered philosophy, Samsung is providing the entirety of technologies needed for the new age ranging from robotics, AI, 5G network and edge computing to offer richer and more adaptive experiences for consumers, Kim said.

“In the age of experience, we need to rethink the space we have to accommodate our diverse and evolving lifestyles,” said Kim. “What makes Samsung’s approach unique is the fact that we have a very clear philosophy built around human-centered innovation. We build and create to solve problems and enhance people’s lives.”

By Song Su-hyun (
Korea Herald correspondent