Intel, Segway and Xiaomi have teamed up to develop a hoverboard robot butler, complete with waving arms and facial expressions.
Users can ride the "Segway Robot" like a regular hoverboard and switch it into butler mode at the drop of a hat. When activated, a head on a stick pops out of the base unit, complete with a camera for surveying the landscape.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich was on hand at the CES 2016 press conference on Tuesday to demonstrate the bizarre invention, with a Ninebot engineer riding it around the stage before activating the butler. "Hello world. It's been 1 hours and 12 minutes since I've last seen the world. Good to be back," it said.
The Segway Robot is capable of recognizing when a visitor is at the door and letting them in. The robot has voice and visual recognition, capable of identifying whether a person is friend or foe.
The robot uses technologies from Xiaomi portfolio company Ninebot, a Beijing-based robotics firm, and also employs Segway's experience in "personal transport." Segway was acquired by Ninebot in April 2015 for an undisclosed amount.
The Segway Robot also employs Intel RealSense technology, which device manufacturers are using to power Windows 10's Hello facial recognition system.
The robot supports a pair of detachable arms. An Android-based open platform will launch in the second half of the year giving developers the chance to create interesting applications for the technology on display.
It's a unique take on the hoverboard craze, which has taken the world by storm. Beyond answering the door, however, it seems that the most interesting applications for the Segway Robot will be the ones that developers can dream up using the open platform. The partner companies plan to collaborate on further products, so this may well be the start of an interesting new robotics platform.