Robots Steal the San Antonio Show

The Ohmni telepresence robot debuted at the September San Antonio Home & Garden Show, appearing both on a local morning show and in the Life-Changing Products Exhibit. Together with the Husqvarna robotic lawn mower, robots pretty much stole the show, billed as the biggest in Texas.

Unlike previous robots — the pesky Moorebot comes to mind immediately — Ohmni behaved itself on TV, doing exactly as it was told. I called it from a Samsung tablet using a Chrome browser, and my picture appeared on its screen. From the tablet, I could move the robot around the hall where the spot was shot.

Telepresence robots are a way to be there when you can’t be. You could give one to a parent living alone, for instance, and periodically make a video call. Moving the robot’s neck up and down makes it seem human. If you were away on a business trip, you could roll the robot up to the dinner table and eat dinner with the family. Again, it’s like you are there!

The Husqvarna robot is a real show-stopper. It mows in a random pattern within an invisible boundary set in your yard, pausing to recharge. It works best when it regularly cuts a quarter inch of grass, recycling the clippings into the yard. Prices range from $1900 for a mower that cuts a small yard to a $3500 unit that will cut up to 1.25 acres.

Here’s a link to the segment. My appearance starts at about the 3-minute mark.

About Boyce Thompson

Boyce Thompson, the author of The New New Home, is a writer and editor who has spent more than 30 years covering the housing market. Thompson began his career as a writer for publications such as The Washington Post, Governing, Practical Homeowner, Venture, and Changing Times, the precursor to the Kiplinger Letter.