Are Smart Home Robots Really Just Around the Corner?

When it comes to home automation, imagination often outpaces reality. We imagine home automation is capable of a lot more than it actually is. It is with that in mind that I present fairly credible rumors of a new home automation robot from LG. Could it be that smart home robots are just around the corner? Anything is possible, but I seriously doubt it.

Do not get me wrong. I would love to have my own personal robot roaming around the house keeping an eye on things. I would love it if that robot could interact with me like C-3PO of Star Wars fame. But we are not there yet. And no one really knows how far away we actually are.

A CES Debut Is Planned

As I write this post, the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is just days away. Rumor has it that LG will be debuting their smart home AI robot during the show. It is probably worth visiting the company’s booth if you plan to be there, because the robot might never make it to market. That’s the way these things sometimes go.

According to Inverse contributor Jackson Chen, the unnamed robot will be capable of a lot of crazy things including:

  • Greeting You – The robot will allegedly be able to greet you at the door, recognize your mood through facial recognition technology, and then play a song that suits you. That would be fun, right?
  • Keep an Eye on Things – The robot will be able to keep an eye on things around your home. Maybe you leave for work and forget to turn off the lights. The robot will allegedly be able to identify the problem and either turn the lights off automatically or alert you to the issue.
  • Keep Track of Pets – If you havepets, LG’s robot will ostensibly be able to keep track of them. You will get a notice if the robot decides a pet is getting into mischief.

The robot is described as a mobile smart home hub that doubles as a butler, babysitter, and security officer. However, I suspect that many of the claims made in support of this device are more imagination than anything else.

Pardon My Skepticism

If you are a big smart home fan, you might interpret my comments as highly negative. I prefer to consider myself skeptical. I have been following smart home technology since its earliest days. And over the years, I’ve seen lots of devices with no shortage of alleged potential that never delivered on their promises.

For the record, LG is not the first company to come up with a personal robot for the home. In his piece, Chen mentioned previous efforts by Amazon (Astro) and Samsung (Ballie). Both projects failed pretty definitively. History forces me to be skeptical until I actually see a market-ready product.

Give Me Old School Home Automation

As much as I love the idea of AI robots helping me out at home, I am still a big fan of old school home automation. Give me something like a Vivint Smart Home system with a centralized hub and a companion mobile app. I will use everything from a smart thermostat to smart locks on all my first-floor doors.

I know I can depend on a central home automation hub and phone app. I know I can always access my system remotely. I can even tie my system to the GPS on my phone for location-based integration. Until I can trust robots with the same reliability, I will let them be the stuff of future dreams.

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