Tyler Suiters  0:11 

Hey everybody, it's Tyler Suiters for the Consumer Technology Association. We are the owner and producer of CES, the largest, the most influential tech event on the planet. We are here to help you get CES ready. The big show is coming up January 8-11, 2019, in Las Vegas. And during CES, you will see companies across all industries unveiling AI solutions there, and one of the most exciting sectors has to be robotics, right? Both what is coming in the near future and also what is possible with AI and robotics and all the sectors that it will affect and the ways it will improve and change our lives for the better.

Tyler Suiters  0:55 

So today, we're talking to a few very cool stakeholders in this space. First, it's a new company, one that's only three years old and is already rolling out production. This is a company that is into robotics but wants to act like a software company, even though it's very much a hardware company. Also, we are talking with an organization — and I can almost guarantee you know who this is — they are 60 years old, not necessarily a tech organization either, but they are focusing on robotics and what they will do for us in our homes. All that's coming up a little later. But first joining me in studio is my colleague here at CTA, Steve Ewell, he is executive director of the CTA Foundation. Steve, great to have you with us today.

Steve Ewell  1:40 

Thanks for having me, Tyler. I'm really excited to be here for this and share a little bit about what the CTA Foundation is doing, and particularly to do it on a podcast talking about robotics, which is just so appropriate for our mission. 

Tyler Suiters  1:54 

So we're giving away a little bit about who our second guest is. I'm trying to be vague about this, so bear with me. But part of the mission of the foundation, CTA Foundation, is addressing accessibility solutions through technology. Now before I go any deeper into that and botch the whole mission, I want you to tell it in your words, right? Because it's so cool, and this is something that if it doesn't affect us directly today, it may affect us indirectly through our parents or grandparents or us ourselves one day.

Steve Ewell  2:25 

Absolutely. And that's really why it’s so important for our mission, which is to link seniors and people with disabilities with technologies to enhance their lives. It's something that applies to all of us, whether we have family members who, through aging or through disability — or quite frankly, we're all aging — and we may even, you know, experience either temporary or permanent disability, through accidents or other things throughout the course of our life. So, technology has such an opportunity to create independence to enable us all to live independently, whether it's at work, whether it's at home, whether to play. You know, technology really enables us to all with the way that we want to live. And that's why I'm so excited to do the work of the foundation.

Tyler Suiters  3:14 

Steve, I love that passion. And I'm really glad you're here with us to share and lead these conversations today about technology and accessibility. We're going to dive right in now with this company I've been trying to be vague about, but let's not beat around the bush anymore. Andy Miller is with us today. He is with AARP, and he is head of innovation and product development there. Andy, great to have you with us. Lots of questions ahead. But first of all, thanks for taking time today.

Andy Miller  3:43 

Thank you, Tyler. Happy to be here.

Tyler Suiters  3:45 

Well, most obvious, first of all, we're thrilled that an organization as old and well known and innovative as AARP will be exhibiting at CES 2019. The obvious question for the uninitiated, though, is what is AARP doing at CES and what is your deep connection to the technology sector and putting technology in the hands of your members?

Andy Miller  4:10 

At AARP, innovation is rooted in everything we do. All the way from our founder founding the first group health insurance plan, and everything we've done since that moment in time. We consider ourselves everyday innovators in aging, and our goal is to empower people to choose how they live as they age. Therefore, technology plays a significant role in enabling and empowering our audience to figure out how they want to live, and what they can use, what technology they can use to help them live their best lives.

Steve Ewell  4:48 

That's great, Andy. This is Steve Ewell. Just a quick question for you. We're going to be excited to be working with you at CES this year to do our first pitch event. And really the focus is going to be on social connection. Can you talk to me a bit about how, why is AARP so focused on social connection? And why is that so important for your members and for us as a society as a whole?

Andy Miller  5:17 

Yeah, so let me step back a minute and let you know that we are so excited to have CTA and CES partnering with us on our pitch event. We spent 2018 rethinking or reimagining how we do pitch events. And we had a phenomenal year doing what we will call tour stops, and CES will be the first tour stop of 2019. And we're just thrilled to have you on board as a partner. As it relates to social isolation, for social connection, I look at that as glass-half-full/ glass-half-empty. Social isolation — everyone has a, if you stereotype and think about what it means to most people, they think of the old lady in a corner. And yes, while that is one use case of social isolation, it's just one of many. And social isolation has a dramatic impact on health.

Andy Miller  6:11 

We actually talk about a stat: social isolation is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. If you think about that, that's unbelievable. And so we are really focused on not just social connection for folks that are over 50, but really society. Because when you think about it, a lot of the social connection is intergenerational. It's grandparent to grandchild. It's parents to adult child. And so we're really looking to find the best solutions out there that are helping, I’ll say convene social connection. And technology is the most appropriate way to do that. So we're really excited to be at CES and to launch this pitch event with you focus on social isolation and coming up with great solutions for social connection.

Steve Ewell   7:05 

Well, that's something where we find the good news is we're all likely to be living longer. But we’ve found, and actually AARP has done research, that says 90% of people want to age in place and stay in their home as long as they possibly can. How are these types of technologies enabling that, building on top of that social connection? What are the other types of technologies that you're seeing that are going to enable us to really live the way we want to live? Whether it's, you know, staying independent at home, being able to work longer, play longer, do everything we want to enjoy in life?

Andy Miller  7:47 

If I think it's a really broad spectrum. People tend to think immediately around technology solutions in the home or on a phone. And yes, there are technologies that are great. FaceTime was one of the best things — or Skype, FaceTime, whichever you want to talk about — one of the best things that’s come along to empower folks that were living far away from family, or maybe had mobility or accessibility issues that wanted to connect. So you see things like that, that's great. That's just the beginning.

Andy Miller  8:19

When I look at technology, specifically around going after social isolation, it is everything from devices like Pillow, which you’ll be able to see in the AARP booth in the Smart Home Marketplace, that dispenses medication but at the same time has a screen that enables people to jump in and do what I'll call live FaceTime without Mom or Dad, or whomever is using the device, having to press any buttons. It was like this phone call from nowhere, but it's someone's face. They can talk to you. We can then program this device and other devices like this — which think about Amazon Alexa or the new Facebook portal or Google Home — with chat bots that enable someone living in isolation to actually have meaningful conversation, albeit not with a person.

Andy Miller  9:16 

I think you're going to see more and more voice. We're seeing this already. Well this isn't new, but we're seeing a tremendous wave or movement in voice,  in chat bots in AI and machine learning, which is going to continue to drive this. And if you think about AI in particular, now you start thinking about things like autonomous transportation. Everything from cars to fleets of buses, like what Local Motors has done with Olli. I think you're going to see more and more that is not only driven by AI and voice, but robotics. That's going to come into play.

Andy Miller  9:49

You're seeing lots of, I'll say companions. Examples that come to mind are sort of like the Ageless Innovation has their companion pet, the dog and the cat. They're very lifelike, if anyone's ever played with one. It's sort of amazing. The convergence of all of these types of technologies is finally here. For a long time, they were sort of isolated, and you had to have huge money to create these things. And they weren't very lifelike. They weren't very user friendly. They weren't accessible for all. And I think the convergence of these technologies that you're seeing, they're manifesting in very different ways, very meaningful ways that allows someone to stay connected again, either to a virtual bot or to a family member that may be living far away. And we're going to continue to see this, I think, over the next few years, as technology continues to — the processing power continues to grow and costs come down. It creates an environment where startups can very quickly and inexpensively start different types of solutions, create different types of solutions in the market in a way that we've never seen before.

Steve Ewell  11:09 

I can't wait to see everything that AARP is going to be showing off this year at CES 2019, as well as many of those types of technologies that we're going to find across the show that, you know, it's not just in one segment. But quite frankly, there are technologies that are changing lives from one end of Las Vegas to the other during CES. What are the types of technologies that you're really looking to find while you're at CES this year? Are there specific areas that you're interested in seeing?

Andy Miller   11:42 

I don't know that I'm keen on the actual technology. I mean, lots of buzzwords these days. If I hear one more startup pitch me that they're an AI startup. I'm more interested in the solution. Technology is an enabler; it's going to create a solution. So I'm really focused on what are the best solutions out there, less on what technology they're utilizing to create the solution to help our members and beyond really battle social isolation. So I'm excited to see how, again, the convergence of technologies into solutions. What I see a lot of times today, a lot of point solutions. And I'm really interested in seeing a company, whether it's a startup or large established organization, that understands it’s the aggregation of multiple-points solutions that's going to win, and probably going to include multiple types of technology in the solution.

Tyler Suiters  12:46 

So while your future casting a little bit, Any. We are talking about robotics on this episode of the podcast. Because CES is about both what is and also what will be, what's possible. Where do you see the robotics sector going on a need basis for the aging community, for the community that Steve was talking about, for our populations getting older and wants to be at home? What's possible with robotics there?

Andy Miller   13:15 

There are a couple of ideas that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. One is focused on a caregiver companion, I'll call it. One of the largest struggles that we have, we’ve seen in society today is, we know the ratio between caregivers and the people that need care is going in the wrong direction. So how are we going to solve for that? I can imagine all sorts of things with robotics that can help someone who's at home, the patient, if you will, the care recipient, feel empowered. But at the same time, help the caregiver.

Andy Miller  14:02 

One of the challenges that caregivers have is guilt. Guilt that they’re not there. Guilt that what happens if something — you know, God forbid, Mom were to fall and I wasn't there. So I think when you talk about robotics, I don't know what form factor it takes, but this idea of a companion caregiver that can perform — a robot that can perform certain functions that a caregiver to do and all the while, helping with the connection, the social connection piece. I also think there's an interesting use case around fall prevention, specifically around falls that happen at night, or in the morning, on the way from the bedroom to the bathroom. Is there a robot — you see lots of lots of solutions today with, I’ll call it like the landing strip. Oh, when Mom gets out of bed, lights light up on the floor to show or the way. That doesn't necessarily help her not fall. That just shows her where they go to fall. So, you know, we think about like, wow, could there be a robotic cane.

Andy Miller  15:11

And maybe that cane, when Mom or Dad gets up at night, comes over to the bed, helps direct Mom, knows through sensors and other things what's happening, is measuring gate as he or she walks. You can imagine these, leveraging robotics and again, the convergence technology. Because it's … you're going to have to have lots of AI and machine learning and all kinds of stuff baked in here. IoT. It's the convergence with the idea of like a mechanical cane. And again, I don't know what the form factor actually looks like, if it actually the cane or a little buddy robot that walks next to you. But there's things on use cases we care about.

Andy Miller  15:51

So fall prevention is super important. Because much like social isolation, when somebody falls, the reality of that usually is beginning of a major problems, especially if it's a severe fall or someone breaks a hip or knee or an arm or something and lands in the hospital. So I think that's really interesting. When you think about robotics, and how do you create these really interesting use cases to drive, which people don't think about.
Fall detection is one where people think about, I gotta improve the “I’ve fallen and can't get up” personal emergency response pendant. There's a problem with those in that people don't want to wear them, period. Where just making it better, you know, pending or a better mousetrap doesn't actually solve this problem. But, I don't know, if there was an interesting little robot that that I could communicate with, that was helping me do what I need to do. That's very interesting.

Steve Ewell  16:52 

And as you know, fall detection is such an important piece into this and fall prevention, even more so. So, in fact, that's something that the CTA Foundation, through our fellowship program, has been doing some research in that area, particularly around technology to help people with dementia and predict and prevent falls as much as possible. When you're looking at this robotic space, do you see, is this going to be a house full of a lot of single-purpose robotics and technologies? Or is this, you know, are we going to have the Rosie the Robot that, you know, serves all of our needs, as we need them? How do you see this technology space playing out?

Andy Miller  17:34 

Yeah, I certainly hope it's not a house full of robots, and I hope it is Rosie. I actually, I think it's really hard, when you talk about future-casting, it's easy to sit here and pontificate on what could be. I think it's really hard with any level of, or a high degree of accuracy to really forecast what it's going to be. I think two years ago at CES, I don't know, I probably saw 100 companies with a little robot guys. They sit on the pedestal and kind of move around and talk to you. And you haven't seen, or at least I haven't seen, in our space much adoption. So to me, that's sort of like a one-of-many points solutions: do I have to have five of these things throughout my house, and they all connect and communicate with one another? I just don't know that that's a really viable solution in the short term. I think when you start looking at the smart home, that's a different story. Or thinking about smart appliances. And where you have built in, I'll say built in IoT. I think IoT has also been interesting, because it's much like — I create everything on the mobile payment. It's like every year is the year of mobile payments, yet, no one really seems to use their phone to pay.

Andy Miller  18:46 

When you think about IoT, I don't want to have to stick sensors in every room. I don't want to have to put cameras in every room. And so I don't know that, again to go back to that multi-point solution, unless they're integrated into things I already am going to be purchasing or into the fabric, if you will, the home itself, and that can communicate with a singular device. I'm not sure that we're ever going to get to Rosie until there is some sort of network effect within the home, driving a single robot or a single thing. And that's the problem today, why you see so many individual-point solutions that are scattered throughout the home. And many of which don't communicate with one another, at least not well.

Andy Miller  19:36

I'm hopeful that we start thinking about what's happening with voice, with Alexa, Google Home, and how people are interacting and now using that to turn lights on and that sort of thing. You can see how now you can have a hub that could, in theory, drive a single Rosie. So I hope that it gets to a single device and we don’t end up at multi-point solutions, and those cases it’s too hard to manage, it’s too hard to implement. Clearly going to be the sea world. I just don't know how that, you know, it's usually the adult child is buying this stuff and putting it in the home trying to help. And in at the end of the day, most folks are not that technically sophisticated to be managing sort of a network of things throughout the home.

Steve Ewell  20:21 

Andy, we are so excited to be working with you at CES 2019. And particularly to have the CTA Foundation working with AARP on our pitch competition. The focus of that competition this year is going to be on increasing social connection. Can you tell us a little bit about why it’s so important for AARP to create social connections or to combat social isolation and the work that you're doing with technology?

Andy Miller  20:48 

Yeah, so when you think about anything you focus on right now, it's a really broad lens. So at the highest level, we care about health, wealth and self. One could argue that it's too broad, that's almost anything that you can imagine. When you dig in, we really care about in, within health, we really care about caregiving. How do we make both the caregiver and the care recipient’s life the best we can. Inside of wealth, it's really around working jobs, it's around savings and planning. There's an interesting stat that half of all Americans have zero saved for retirement. That's just mind blowing to me. The average is $2,500. A third of the U.S. could not come up with $400 if they needed to for an emergency. So we're really focused on sort of the technologies that are going to help drive behavioral change within FinTech.

Andy Miller     21:44

And then self, it's really personal fulfillment. And so we're focused on how do we build solutions to you know, everything from healthy living to livable communities and things that drive yourself your personal fulfillment.
In fact, we're going to be launching a product at CES, in our group that is focused on social isolation, but was born out of personal fulfillment. And it's an interesting product, because it brings together sort of super high tech virtual reality with sort of low tech, printing or picture books. We sort of look at this thing, and we have a pretty wide lens. But we really try and dig in within the broader picture to focus our innovation efforts on, at a granular level, on things like social isolation but in the context of always coming back to, everything we do has to be focused on empowering people to choose how they live as they age.

Tyler Suiters  22:53 

And whether you think it's relevant to you or not, one day it will be for all of us, if we're fortunate.

Andy Miller  23:02

Every day we're getting older.

Tyler Suiters  23:04 

Andy Miller is with AARP, where he is head of innovation and product development, and the organization will have a significant presence at CES 2019. Andy, great to talk with you today, and we'll see you soon in Las Vegas.

Andy Miller  23:19 

Thanks. We’re looking forward to it.

Tyler Suiters  23:20 

And before I let you drop the mic, Steve, here in the CTA studio. Let's talk a bit more about the pitch event you referenced there with Andy. The CTA Foundation, partnering with AARP for first time event at CES 2019.

Steve Ewell      23:35

Absolutely. You heard from our conversation how important social connection can be. We're going to do our first pitch event. AARP is sponsoring that event. We're going to have a number of exciting technologies pitched to a selection panel of experts at the show. And then we're actually going to have the CES attendees there vote and choose the winner this year. I hope everyone will join us on Thursday the 10th in Eureka Park on the startup stage at 10:30 in the morning.

Tyler Suiters    24:09

Audience participation at its best. Steve, thanks again for taking time today.

Steve Ewell      24:13

Thank you for having me. And if people want to know more about the CTA Foundation, they can go to CTAFoundation.tech.

Tyler Suiters  24:19 

All right, CTAFoundation.tech is the address. So joining us now in studio is Jill Nguyen. She is with OhmniLabs where she is head of partnerships. And Jill, so glad you're with us today.

Jill Nguyen  24:34 

Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here today.

Tyler Suiters  24:36 

So talking to you off mic about robotics. I'm not sure I've ever discussed this topic with someone who is more passionate about it, yet OhmniLabs is a relatively new company in this space. Let's start at the beginning, and tell us a bit about the company and the inception and where you are today.

Jill Nguyen  24:50 

Sure, yeah. So we are about three years old, the company was founded in 2018, with three cofounders, all engineers and serial entrepreneurs. Among them two PhDs and, I’ll say, like three to four different [unintelligible]. So these guys are, you know, innovators in Silicon Valley. And in 2015, they kind of found themselves after their, you know, exiting their latest ventures and just kind of like, what do we want to do, and they just kind of came from this bromance, I would say. They wanted to work together. At the same time, Jared, our current cofounder and CTO, was working on a personal passion project. He was building a drone that would kind of like fly around his family, so he can be there to share the moments with them. And actually three of the cofounders are all immigrants, with new immigrant family. And you know, the sentiment of like not being home and sharing the moment, they all share that. And they were just kind of fascinated by Jared’s passion project. So they wanted to do something in telepresence. So, you know, among the three specialties, that's robotics, there's hardware, there’s 3D p printing, there’s game theory and AI. They came up with the Ohmni Telepresent Robot. And they were very, I guess, very sure that they wanted something for the home, so it has to be lightweight, it has to be affordable. And it has to come with different colors, so it was fun.

Tyler Suiters    26:23

Get the kids involved.

Jill Nguyen       26:25

Very, very important. And we launched in April 2017 on Indiegogo, and shipped our first robot in the fall 2017.

Tyler Suiters  26:32 

That's wonderful. So it brings to mind one of the key components, at least outwardly facing, Jull, about OhmniLabs. And that is, you talk about wanting to be a hardware company, which very much it robotic space, but to act like a software company. So somebody buzzwords there, and probably an approach that sounds vaguely familiar to a lot of us in the tech sector, but what does it mean to you, to OhmniLabs, to act like a software company in this space?

Jill Nguyen  27:00 

When you think about a hardware company, there's a lot of different vendors involved, different manufacturers involved. And you don't see a lot of companies in the hardware space controlling the entire process, right? Maybe Apple, a very famous example. And I think, you know, at the beginning of the company, they were really interested in doing something different. And to keep the cost really low, it means they have to figure out a way to do manufacturing cheaper, to do prototyping cheaper, to move faster. And in in two and a half years, they went through 10 different iterations of the robot, and to move that quickly and to have such a lean process to create a product, they end up, you know, doing everything in house, from designing to prototyping to manufacturing. And that means involving 3D printers. And when the team was so small, I mean, there were three of them in someone's garage, that later building out to like six, seven people, the team was very small. It’s still like less than, fewer than 10 people when they launched on Indiegogo. So with that A-to-Z-controlling process, it feels like they were building an app from scratch, but it's takes a lot more. And obviously, after employing the commercial-grade 3D printers to manufacture our robot, we ended up custom building our own 3D printers. And we have investors who were so interested in our proprietary 3D printing technologies. And we a lot of time laugh about maybe just spin up a new venture and just be a 3D printing technology company because of that.

Tyler Suiters  28:50 

Interesting approach in that you've already had so much success. And part of that is certainly the innovation that technology put into it. But another element is this base where you found yourself right, it is eldercare, or senior care or patient monitoring. It's also very much as you said, a telepresence, in the sense that if you can't be somewhere, potentially a robot can. So that's an amorphous way. I'm trying to describe exactly where you are. But it is unique to some degree.

Jill Nguyen  29:21 

It is. And you know that they were not the first telepresence robot. That space has been existing for say 15 years. And there are a lot of robotic solutions out there, like telepresence robot for enterprise for manufacturing, and some starting to go into the home space. But obviously, robots in the home, that's really new, right?

Tyler Suiters  29:48 

It’s primary a B2B play?

Jill Nguyen  29:49 

Yeah. And I think Roomba is the most famous example of robot in the home. And it's not new, and it's quite dumb. I mean, not to offend iRobot, I love the Roomba. It’s just not what you think that will be in 2018.
One reason why robotic adoption in the home has been slow is because it's an expensive, it's being clunky. And so we try to go into that space by being more affordable. Our standard models right now starting at $1,495, which is the price of the laptop. It's about 18 pounds, affordable, and very simple to use, which is very important for us. At the same time, we're committed to open source innovations. And we also have partners who actually utilize a developer's kit and our robot to build something out on top of it. So we're also, you know, can be a solution for businesses as well.

Tyler Suiters  30:48 

So how does that manifest itself right now in the home? What does OhmniLabs see as your presence in the present for robotics with consumers?

Jill Nguyen  30:58 

We actually, I think the most positive thing is that we love hearing stories from our customers. I think that one of the most heartfelt stories we heard recently is, this guy lives really far from his mother. And also immigrant family, and they use a robot to communicate. And one day he was on a business trip and couldn't even reach her, she wasn't picking up the phone. So he dialed on to the robot, drove it around the house and found that she was in tremendous pain and needed medical attention. And so he called 911 and stayed on the robot with her as the ambulance came and helped her communicate her issues with a medical professional, because she didn't speak English.

Tyler Suiters  31:43 

Wow. And it couldn't have been done necessarily with a smartphone. And this is how you, he was able to locate her. Right?

Jill Nguyen  31:48 

Exactly. So you know, when you hear a story like that, that's very important to us that this is something that sticks and there's a market for it. Or when we, you know, this is a bit outside of the home, but we have customers, we have a family with kids that are going through medical treatment, a lot of time for leukemia, for example. And these kids are being pulled away from the classroom into hospitals, and they want to and the parents are wanting to keep these kids’ lives as a normal as possible. So they buy these robots to put in the classroom, and the kids can dial in, be in the class be with his friends, with the teacher, and that just really improves their quality of life, among their lives, a lot of time, toughest days.

Jill Nguyen  32:34 

So there really is a market in the home and for everyday usage. And it's also great that as we work with more customers. We actually hear more use cases as they want us to go to trade show, exhibit, real estate showing. So there are a lot of potentials there, like you said, for robots to be where human can't be or a lot times to cut down the costs. And just reduce the time that you spend on some kind of testing, a lot of time like companionship, for example.

Tyler Suiters  33:08 

Okay, Jill, since you brought up trade shows, I'm going to bring up CES 2019. And for a relatively young company, as you said, only a few years old, you have a pretty defined strategy for what you want to do at CES 2019. Coming up.

Jill Nguyen  33:24 

Yes, we're very excited. This will be our first official CES. Personally I have been before, and it was an overwhelming and just amazing experience that I think everyone should do at least once in your life, even if you're not in tech or not in media. It's a really, I guess, I gained such a profound respect for just mankind.
One of my very first things when I joined Ohmnilabs, and said, “we have to go to CES.” Because you know, I believe that it's a place where we can learn a lot from the industry, but also we want to have a booth to be there to exhibit, and to expose ourselves to other potential technical partners or even press. And also, it's a really good place for us to reveal new innovations we're working on and find other partners who would be interested in joining forces with us as well. We will be in the accessibility area on the smart home floor in the Sands. And yeah, we're very excited to reveal one of the secret project we've been working on for so long.

Tyler Suiters  34:38 

I won't press you on that. We've got time for the big reveal. I am curious about your approach to deciding to exhibit there in smart home and accessibility. Just as AI has become a horizontal topic across CES, but across the tech sector in general. It seems to me, Jill, given your explanation, robotics is in some way, a bit the same way. And it can apply across so many tech-centric verticals, right. Whether that's design and source, whether it's smart home, gosh, sports, tech health and fitness, digital health clearly have an element there as well. So why define yourself to some degree as accessibility or as smart home?

Jill Nguyen  35:25 

I think that we have a lot of stories about customer stories of use cases. And I think we want to really highlight those, and being the accessibility area means that we're committed to highlighting how our robot has been making people's lives better, right? I mean, there are a lot of robots in their robotics and AI area, right. But we're more interested in letting the visitors see how can this fit into their home for different use cases. And in the accessibility areas, we're also going to be really close to lots of partner we've been working with. I think tech for social good and robotics for social good is something that we're committed to since day one of the company. And I think that kind of makes a lot of sense for us to be there instead of being in the show where older robotics come.

Tyler Suiters  36:23 

So when you use the term telepresence in association with robotics, that's in the home, right? There's an interactivity, there's a gosh, you almost put the face of your loved ones on there, right, you can personalize it a little bit. OhmniLabs is also moving toward the robotic arm category, for lack of a better term. What's the potential that you see there and where you are working on that?

Jill Nguyen 36:46 

Tyler, you're, like, spoiling my secret right now. You can like read my mind.

Tyler Suiters  36:50 

No details.

Jill Nguyen  36:52 

We’re obviously, we’re labs in the end, right? So we're constantly, carry us and constantly working on what can we do is you know, better and especially bringing innovation into the home, like I mentioned earlier. Telepresence robots are not new, but we want to make one that's affordable for the home. Robotic arms are not new. You've seen a lot of video clips of cool new arms doing heart surgery. I love those videos. I love the precision. But we also want to create pair arms for the home, right? So right now, most of the arms you see are the heavy, they're expensive, they're used in more manufacturing scenarios, or maybe they're on Mars, I love those as well. But you know, for a robot like Ohmni, we also need a caregiving aspect. And we're working on a pair of affordable but ultra high performance and ultra precise arms. So that can be an attachment or an add-on to a robot that can be teli-operated. It also can be trained to automate some certain tasks as well. So imagine if you buy an Ohmni robot for your mother, or your grandma. And the robot arm can help carry or help them get to the bathroom, help them do certain tasks, carry things away, or even just dispense certain pills, remind to take medicines on time. That will change the game a lot for lots of families. But they have to be lightweight, they have to be modular, they have to be precise. And that's something that we're working on right now and will be unveiling at CES.

Tyler Suiters  38:49 

Well, we love major announcements during CES to be a potential groundbreaker, Jill. That's fantastic. Final question, pull out the crystal ball for me. Where do you see robotics going? Let's say five years from now? What kind of discussions are we going to be having about capabilities about applications about hardware?

Jill Nguyen  39:10 

I do believe that more companies are going to pay attention to robotic solutions for the home. I think the release of Portal by Facebook is kind of one sign of that trend. Where is it going? Obviously, with a lot of discussions around privacy at the moment, any kind of new, connected device or robotic solutions in the home, we need to pay attention closely to consumers’ privacy, consumer data.

Jill Nguyen  39:41 

But one thing that I truly hope and truly believe in is Ohmni, just like Portal, is really sparking the public's interest in robots and telepresence solutions in the home. And I hope that's the trend the market is going and I think that's what everyone at OhmniLabs is hoping.

Tyler Suiters  40:06 

Thank you. Jill Nguyen, head of partnerships with OhmniLabs. Great to have you with us. Hope you have a fantastic CES 2019.

Jill Nguyen  40:13 

Thank you, Tyler. Great to be here. Thanks for having me.

Tyler Suiters  40:17 

All right, next time, we are talking about the smart home and a specific focus on voice recognition technology. Yes, it's getting better than ever. But as you learned from our conversation with Google Home, that division, there is a more personalized voice assistant capability. It's now being introduced to customers as well.

Chris Turkstra, Director of Produce Management for Google Assistant, Google  40:38 

Some of the things that you've heard that we announced at Google IO was that soon John Legend will be available as a voice you can have the assistant talk to you in.

Tyler Suiters  40:50 

OK, we want you to be CES ready. So subscribe to this CES Tech Talk podcast. You won't miss any of our episodes that way. And reminder, CES 2019, it is on the way, January 8-11, in Las Vegas. All the information you need is at CES.tech. As always, none of this is possible without our true superstars: our producer, Tina Anthony, and our engineer, John Lindsey. You all are the best in the business. Thank you both. And thank you as well for joining us. I’m Tyler Suiters. Let's talk tech again soon.