Science Fiction has promised us a whole lot of technology that it’s rudely failed to deliver—jetpacks, flying cars, teleportation. The most useful one might be the robot companion, à la Rosie from The Jetsons, a machine that watches over the home.
It seemed like 2018 was going to be the year when robots made a big leap in that direction. Two machines in particular surfaced to much fanfare: Kuri, an adorable R2D2 analog that can follow you around and take pictures of your dinner parties, and Jibo, a desktop robot with a screen for a face that works a bit like Alexa, only it can dance.
But then, as quickly as the home robots came, they disappeared. In July, the maker of Kuri, Mayfield Robotics, said it was ceasing production of the robot, and a month later it announced it was ceasing its existence as a company altogether. In November, Jibo shuttered as well. In the spring, yet another company that was exploring home robots, TickTock, called it quits.
What, then, happened to the Year of the Home Robot?