Meet Ballie, the cute, rolling companion from Samsung. Robot – CNET

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Samsung Co-CEO H.S. Kim shows Ballie, the company's rolling robot.

James Martin / CNET

This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom and the latest technical equipment.

Samsung has a new robot – and it looks a lot like a tennis ball.

Co-CEO H.S. Kim showed Ballie, a small, bright yellow, rolling robot, during a keynote Monday at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Ballie followed Kim on stage and responded to his orders. That included getting closer and further away from Kim and jumping into his hands.

Kim said he believes robots can be "partners". Ballie "understands, supports, and responds to your needs to help actively throughout the home," Samsung said in a press release at the beginning of the keynote,

Like almost all major technology companies, Samsung is driving artificial intelligence. The technology that enables devices to act independently is seen as the next big wave of computing – the way we will interact with our gadgets in the future. Instead of swiping on our phone screens, we will be speaking with our devices or with constantly listening microphones in our homes and offices. The ultimate promise for AI is to predict what you want before you even ask, even though most smart assistants aren't as smart yet.

At CES last year, Samsung showed four different types of robots for consumers. These included the bot air for air purification, the bot care for health monitoring, the bot retail for restaurants and shops as well as the GEMS (Gait Enhancing and Motivating System) to support people with mobility problems. At the time, Samsung said the robots were just research. There was no timeline to start with.

It revealed its later in 2019 Bot Chef who helped famous chefs Prepare food for IFA conference participants.

Ballie

Sebastian Seung, Samsung's executive vice president and chief research scientist, says Ballie's AI capability is turning into a fitness assistant or remote control.

Ballie can be a "new friend for your kids and pets and a camera that records and saves special moments – like a family photo album," he said. "He's pretty busy for a little robot."

Ballie

Ballie represents Samsung's vision for companion robots.

James Martin / CNET

Seung and Kim added that the technology is becoming more and more personal. Kim expects the next era of technology to be the "Age of Experience", where consumers are looking for devices that will help them do more instead of just buying new ones.

"One size fits all is no longer the answer," said Seung. "We are all looking for solutions that treat us as individuals."

He added that Ballie and Samsung's other AI efforts will also include "strict privacy and data protection standards".

"Of course we want Ballie to be fun, smart and helpful," said Seung. "But we also want Ballie to keep our secrets. We want an AI that we can trust."

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Better workouts

GEMS Samsung AR exercise

Samsung intends to use its GEMS robot for fitness purposes.

James Martin / CNET

Together with Ballie, Samsung showed new functions for its GEMS robots, which were first presented at CES last year. The robot looks like an exoskeleton and is said to help with mobility problems, such as injuries from strokes. Last year Samsung developed three models: GEMS-H for the hips, GEMS-A for the ankles and GEMS-K for the knees.

At CES 2020, Samsung showed that people with GEMS improve their health and fitness. The company demonstrated to consumers who used AR glasses to train with a virtual personal trainer, climb a mountain, or go underwater, all from their own living rooms. GEMS can then aggregate and analyze the results to give users personalized training recommendations.

GEMS has "evolved with more features," said Federico Casalegno, chief design innovation officer of the Samsung Design Innovation Center. "It is a sports and entertainment system. … It recognizes personal fitness needs and optimizes the experience for you."