The Ballie robot from Samsung has captivated our attention at CES 2024 with its delightful features. Although the spherical robot made a surprise appearance at this year’s event, Samsung had initially introduced a version of it in 2020. Notably, Ballie has undergone significant growth, transforming from the size of a tennis ball to that of a bowling ball, and now boasts a built-in projector.
Regrettably, Samsung has restricted direct interaction with Ballie here in Las Vegas. Nevertheless, the company presented a demo at its booth, carefully choreographed and controlled. Despite the controlled nature of the demonstration, it provided insights into Samsung’s vision for Ballie’s potential applications. During the demo, an actor requested Ballie to initiate a workout routine, prompting the robot to project a workout video on the wall and play accompanying music. While such activities could be carried out using a TV, Ballie showcased its unique capabilities by adjusting the projection to the ceiling when the exercise required the actor to lie down, enabling seamless participation.
In another demonstration, Ballie showcased its ability to provide a visual representation of the house’s air quality by accessing data from a connected air purifier. Displaying relevant statistics on the wall, Ballie also alerted that a filter needed replacement. This highlights Ballie’s capability to communicate with various smart home devices, presenting information even in the absence of dedicated displays.
Beyond air quality monitoring, Ballie seamlessly integrates with your calendar, facilitates phone calls, and can display video from devices like your Samsung fridge, oven, or doorbell camera. Essentially, Ballie emerges as a mobile smart home hub, offering both functionality and entertainment.
While the sight of Ballie confidently rolling around the demo area was endearing, some skepticism arises regarding its practicality in addressing real-world issues. Despite its cute and entertaining features, the question remains whether Ballie effectively addresses tangible problems. The potential success of the project hinges on further development, with Samsung projecting it to be available for purchase by the end of the year. Although reservations linger, given the history of similar projects facing challenges, there is an optimistic hope for the success of this charming little robot.