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Several resident startups of the Skolkovo Foundation took their products and technologies to Las Vegas last week for CES, one of the world’s biggest consumer technologies exhibitions and conferences, which ran from January 9 to 12.
Promobot robots take a break with their creators after a busy few days at CES in Las Vegas. Photo: Promobot.
The Skolkovo startups introducing their inventions to the world included Promobot, whose friendly promotional robots have taken the world by storm during the last couple of years. At CES, the Perm-based company was presenting the latest incarnation of its famed service robots, Promobot v.4.
As usual, the exhibitionist robots attracted attention even before the event had officially opened, the company said, with a constant stream of people stopping at the Promobot stand to have their photograph taken with the robots, which can talk to people in English and recognise humans with whom they have already interacted.
“Considering the saturation of the Western audience for tech innovations, the excitement that our Russian robot caused is a sign that we are on the right track,” the company wrote on its website.
Participation in CES enabled the company to find potential new clients from all over the world: 44 companies and organizations interested in introducing Promobot’s technology filled in potential order forms (the equivalent of letters of intent), Promobot said. The biggest preliminary order came from a representative of the United Arab Emirates for 200 version 2 Promobots and 300 version 4 robots.
Other interested companies and organisations included NASA, Amazon, Oracle, Lyft, Hyperloop and Texas Instruments, said Promobot, whose chatty robots are designed to interact with and assist humans in crowded places such as malls, hotels, business centres, large company facilities and – appropriately for Vegas – casinos, as well as train stations and airports.
Most of the interest came from U.S. companies, Promobot said, followed by Mexico, China and France.
Another Skolkovo resident showing off its wares at CES was Fibrum, the maker of VR headsets and apps.
“It was four unbelievable days in the company of interesting people and inspiring ideas,” the company, whose Fibrum Pro VR headsets are already sold in the U.S., said on its Facebook page.
Fibrum's latest VR app, Desirium, allows users to experience new activities and emotions. Video: Fibrum.
Fibrum was showcasing its latest product, the upcoming VR app Desirium, at CES. Desirium allows users to choose between experiencing fear, quenching their thirst for adventure, getting an adrenaline rush or relaxing. By simply slotting their smartphone into a VR headset, they can experience activities such as skydiving, skiing, scubadiving or even piloting a spacecraft. At CES, users could sample the app to play at being U.S. President Donald Trump for a day.
“This year we put all our expertise and knowledge into our new product,” Fibrum CEO and founder Ilya Flaks told the U.S. international broadcaster Voice of America.
“It’s a bridge to those feelings and impressions that are inaccessible in real life,” he said.
Also taking part in CES was WayRay, the creator of augmented reality apps for drivers designed to improve safety on the roads. The company’s CEO and founder, Vitaly Ponomarev, spoke at a CES session on January 10 titled “All Eyes on Augmented Reality,” devoted to the future of the technology.
TechCrunch published a review of the WayRay heads-up display solutions on show at CES.
Other Skolkovo residents taking part in CES included Kleiber Bionics, which was exhibiting version 2.0 of its Kleiber Solo bionic hand, which can be used both as a prosthetic hand for human users and installed on service and collaborative robots as a universal mechanical arm to perform a large range of everyday tasks.