One in ten Americans will have a robot in their home by 2020 according to data from Juniper Research. And Day Three was very definitely ‘Robot Day’ at SXSW this year.

How will these Americans that are set to have a house robot choose which model and make is right for them? The one with the best camera and object or people detecting software? The one that can understand your speech? Or the one that can move around your home most easily? The truth will probably be none of these, but that we will choose the robots right for us not based on their features or specifications, but in exactly the same way we choose a pet. On their personality.

And personality if hard to get right in a robot. They can ‘speak’, but getting them to speak in a way that lets you build a relationship with them is hard. They might repond straightaway, too quickly for you so it feels less like you are building a bond, and more like they are responding to you robotically. As you might say. That’s why some of the current innovative robot designs don’t use the speech that they could, but respond with noises and alerts that are less likely to come across as stilted.

In conversation with a robot we saw just that. What is probably one of the most impressive examples of robots this year, having them on a panel talking, highlighted that there is still some way to go to emulate the pattern and nature of human speech.

Which means that the award for the best robot at SXSW this year doesn’t go to these. But goes to the bottle flipping robot from Kuka Robotics. See it in action:

See everything the team got up to on Day Three in Austin


Matt Rhodes

About Matt Rhodes

Digital Strategy Director for work. Marathon runner and charity trustee for fun.

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