Yossi Wolf—the entrepreneur behind Temi, a new robotic butler of sorts, slated to hit the market next year—got the idea from his nana. She was having a hard time learning how to operate her smart phone, Wolf told an Israeli interviewer, so he wondered if she’d find the technology easier to operate if it was attached to a robot.
The answer might just turn out to be yes: Judging by early demo videos, Temi seems to open up a world of possibilities. Imagine Siri or Alexa on wheels, following you around the house, playing music or movies, searching the web on command, and connecting you to loved ones using advanced voice and face recognition software.
Wolf first worked with robots in the IDF, where motion-based machines are often used to scan crowded urban areas for explosives. “In the security sector, the first priority is saving lives. If you enter an urban environment,” Wolf said, “and you need to inspect a suspicious object with a robot, you need to map the street, identify anything suspicious, understand why it’s suspicious, and you want the robot to do all that so that the solider could do other things.” Replace the battlefield with your living room and the suspicious object with, say, your dog or your child, and you get why Temi is so promising.
The robot, which is about three-feet tall and has a 10-inch tablet computer for a head, is expected to go on sale sometime in 2018 and cost less than $1,500. That may sound like a lot of money for something that is essentially a marriage of convenience between an iPad and a skateboard, but Wolf told Wired earlier this year that he believed Temi will be a real game changer.
“We are working so hard, and we are spending so much time looking into a smartphone, we forget to spend time with our family and important people,” he said. “I knew that only a robotic device will be able to put you at the center. Only a moving device will really be able to serve you, to come when called.”