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Autonomous vehicles, drones, artificial intelligence, augmented/virtual reality, robotics and smart cities are among the hottest topics at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Robots are everywhere. For starters, one of our Itron RIVA ecosystem partners, OMRON, centerpieced Forpheus — a ping pong-playing robot. The rise of the machines is unavoidable: Our future will include robots as companions and co-workers. Below (and in the slideshow above) are just a few that caught my eye on the show floor.

Called an empathetic robotic device, Honda unveiled the A18, which is a companion robot. The A18 has a face that can recognize and emulate emotions and respond to the emotions its companion shows. I’m unsure about the market size for a mobile, egg-shaped, anthropomorphic buddy, but speaking of robot buddies… A companion robot with considerably more utility is Blue Frog’s BUDDY, which won the CES 2018 Best of Innovation award. BUDDY is a personal assistant with smart home, security, elder care and edutainment capabilities. Abilix showed several programmable, multi-piece LEGO-like Coding Robot kits to enable STEM learning in children.

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James Edson
Jim Edson has served as Entrepreneur in Residence in Itron's Idea Labs since early 2017. He has held senior operations, business development and management positions at Motorola, Qualcomm, Ericsson, ARM and several early-stage technology companies. Jim’s focus within Itron Idea Labs is on smart cities and collaborating with clean tech incubators and accelerators to identify promising new solutions and startups.