I first met with the team at Labrador Systems in a hotel suite several CESes ago. What immediately stood out about the firm is its focus on the long-standing promise of eldercare robotics. Various systems have existed in Japan for decades now, aimed at that nation’s aging population. But for the most part, it’s a category that’s been lacking here in the States – especially in terms of actually bringing products to market.
Toward the end of last year, the California-based startup announced that it was beginning to deliver its first systems to clients in the U.S. It also announced new backing from the Alexa Fund. Included in that news, was the promise of compatibility with Amazon’s voice assistant. While it’s certainly true that voice computing doesn’t make sense for every scenario, it really does here.
Labrador is showing off the feature at CES this week. The demo utilizes an Echo Show 10. The smart screen is mounted on top of the robot – serving as a tablet similar to the kind found on teleconferencing systems. The Echo’s built-in swivel means it can turn to face to the user. To, for example, get a beverage, you would say, “Alexa, ask Lab 1 to get me a drink.” It’s all still an early proof on concept, but Labrador plans to start piloting the set up with its customer base soon.