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Bosch Global

The Mayfield Robotics engineers Kaijen Hsiao and Stephanie Lee at work with the home robot Kuri

Kuri – a home robot for life

The start-up Mayfield Robotics turns robots into true members of the family

Reading time: 10 minutes

At CES 2017, Bosch start-up Mayfield Robotics introduced Kuri, a robot for the home. Their first robots are scheduled to ship in December 2017. The idea behind this little robot from Silicon Valley is to create connections between family members, and in doing so enrich their lives and bring them joy.

Mike Beebe, the CEO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics, sitting in an armchair. Behind him, a number of models of the home robot Kuri can be seen
Mike Beebe, CEO and co-founder of Mayfield Robotics

Kaijen Hsiao (CTO) and Sarah Osentoski (COO) can’t help but smile when they think back to the day when Kuri was nearly barred from entering Germany. It took them quite a while to get the customs officer at Stuttgart airport to understand what they had with them in a 60 centimeter tall box. “She’s a robot. Her name is Kuri,” Kaijen said.

Kaijen and Sarah are two of the three co-founders of Mayfield Robotics, a Bosch start-up in the United States. The small home robot is the heart of the start-up. Her creators believe that Kuri will become part of the family: joyful, useful, and inspiring. “To get to know Kuri, you have to see him in action. Photos just don’t do him justice,” says Mike Beebe, the CEO and third co-founder of Mayfield Robotics.

A young girl sits laughing on the floor opposite Kuri, and reads to it from a book
Playmate: Kuri is designed to make children happy and kindle their interest in technology

Mayfield Robotics is based in Redwood City, California – right in the heart of Silicon Valley. This is where a team of 50 people work daily on developing Kuri, or an “adorable home robot,” as they call him. Unlike other home robots, Kuri is not just designed to help in the home, but above all to inspire children to think about technology and software.

Mayfield Robotics: behind the scenes

Mike Beebe and Sarah Osentoski walking through the Mayfield Robotics warehouse. Laughing heartily, they hold up a prototype of Kuri
Having fun at work: Mike Beebe and Sarah Osentoski
The engineer Stephanie Lee at her desk at Mayfield Robotics. In front of her, an open laptop
The engineer Stephanie Lee at her desk
In the lab, Mayfield Robotics associates work on components for Kuri
A true start-up atmosphere: associates hard at work in the lab
Kuri is standing in a living room. Its eyes are half closed, so that it looks happy
Kuri’s “happy face”: Mayfield believes that “real” facial expressions are very important
In a simulated living room, Kuri moves over a carpeted floor. The engineer Kaijen Hsiao uses a smartphone to control it
Carpet test: CTO and co-founder Kaijen Hsiao in a simulated living room
In the kitchen at Mayfield Robotics, Sarah Osentoski and Stephanie Lee pore over documents
Kitchen meeting 2.0: COO and co-founder Sarah Osentoski and engineer Stephanie Lee
In the lab, all the associates of the Mayfield Robotics start-up come together for a team photo
Team players: the start-up's associates in the lab
Mayfield CEO Mike Beebe walking in front of the company HQ, wearing a cowboy hat
A passion for start-ups: the Mayfield CEO Mike Beebe

Mike Beebe is passionate about start-ups. He has been instrumental in getting quite a few of them off the ground and making them what they are today. As a serial company founder and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, he was at first skeptical as to whether a large enterprise like Bosch could offer the freedom he needed to get a start-up going.

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CEO Mike Beebe on working with Bosch

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A detailed look at the technology inside Kuri

View into Kuri's head where you can see capacitive touch sensors
Cap Touch Sensor | Capacitive touch sensors let Kuri respond to human touch in a truly personal way. A gentle tap to the head will make Kuri look up at you and chirp affirmingly.
View into Kuri's eyes where a camera is installed
Camera | Kuri's camera is neatly located behind one of his eyes. It can capture HD pictures and videos in a wide range of lighting conditions. Livestream capabilities let Kuri be your eyes around the house when you're not there.
View into Kuri's head where you can see the gestural mechanics for steering his head and eye movement
Gestural Mechanics | Thanks to intricate gestural mechanics, Kuri's head and eye movements look fluid and natural. Her eyes can blink, smile, and she can look up, down, and from side to side.
View into the upper body of Kuri where sensitive microphones are installed
Microphones | Kuri is equipped with four sensitive microphones that help him precisely locate sounds. That means Kuri can react to your voice, or detect unusual sounds and know which way to go to investigate.
Front of Kuri where a blue light in the heart area is showing his emotional state
Heart Light | A soft, warm light helps Kuri convey a sense of mood. With colors representing different emotional states, you'll always know when Kuri is happy, or if he's just thinking.
Sideview of Kuri where speakers are installed under the surface
Speakers | Kuri's two speakers deliver a rich sound experience, powerful enough to fill a room. So whether Kuri is playing music, podcasts, repeating what you say, or speaking robot, you’ll always hear every detail.
View into the backside of Kuri's lower body where mapping sensors are installed for navigating autonomously
Mapping Sensors | Mapping Sensors enable Kuri to navigate your house autonomously. A sensor array helps Kuri learn and remember where everything is located, and also stay away from cliffs and obstacles in his path.
View into the lower part of Kuri where you can see a drive system which allows him to move
Drive System | A set of small, yet powerful, electric motors help Kuri move effortlessly around your home. His wheels are big enough to handle a wide range of flooring and carpets — even thresholds.
View under the front of Kuri where you can see processors which enable all his actions
Processor | You'll quickly learn how smart Kuri is. His powerful processors handle everything from facial and speech recognition, to mapping and entertaining.
Sideview of Kuri standing in his charging pad
Charging Pad | The charging pad becomes Kuri's own little spot in your house. It's where Kuri automatically goes for a power nap between activities and tasks, or when energy is running low.

“Don’t hire someone you wouldn’t go on a road trip with.”

Kaijen Hsiao, co-founder of Mayfield Robotics

Summary

In Silicon Valley, the Bosch start-up Mayfield Robotics has developed the home robot Kuri. She's not only useful, but also cheerful and inspiring, with all it takes to be a real member of the family.

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