This quirky robot drew a crowd at CES 2024, but what does it do?

    A robot that resembles Link from Zelda mixed with a humanoid fox just stole the show at Unveiled, a showcase that provides a sneak peek of what’s to come when CES 2024 officially kicks off on Jan. 9.

    The bright-orange robot known as Mirokai drew crowds as it interacted with attendees with its quirky, virtual facial interface and its funky mobility via a rolling globe. But the question is, what does it actually do?


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    What is Mirokai?

    When we spotted Mirokai at Unveiled, we saw it do 360-degree spins, move its arms in a human-like manner, and gaze at onlookers inquisitively.

    At first, I thought the robot’s engaging facial expressions were based on some sort of pre-programmed loop, but as it turns out, Mirokai was interacting with the crowd in real-time.

    Mirokai at CES 2024 Unveiled
    Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

    Paraphrasing Ilyesse Laghouane, a mechanical designer for Enchanted Tools (the company behind Mirokai), the robot can detect faces and can recognize when someone is smiling at it. In response, it will smile back.

    Mirokai showing its shocked face

    Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

    The main use case for Mirokai is companionship. Laghouane foresees Mirokai being a robotic social therapy device for use in the medical sector, for example.

    It can also grasp and transport stuff

    Mirokai can also serve as a mini assistant because it has opposable thumbs, allowing it to grasp things.

    Mirokai shown carrying a tray

    Credit: Enchanted Tools

    According to the official website, it has a “97% grasping success rate,” making it potentially useful for the hospitality sector, too.

    Mirokai interacting with the crowd

    Mashable’s Matt Binder interacting with Mirokai at CES 2024 Unveiled.
    Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

    What’s with Mirokai’s unique look?

    If you, like me, were wondering about how the designers came up with Mirokai’s anime-inspired design, its eye-catching look came about by striking a balance between familiar and non-humanoid traits. If a robot is too human, it can be a little too freaky. However, if it’s too unfamiliar, humans may find it difficult to connect with it.

    Consequently, Mirokai combines human elements (i.e., arms and head) and animal features (i.e., long ears), with a slight Manga-like character twist, to make Mirokai more approachable.

    Read the full article here

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