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Samsung Debuts Ballie, the BB-8-Style Household Droid Your Pet Will Love to Destroy

Whoever designed this clearly hasn't met a Jack Russell terrier.

samsung presents ballie at CES 2020

This week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Samsung presented their latest invention, a rolling personal assistant robot called Ballie. The droid, which looks like a cross between a tennis ball and BB-8, contains a camera and mobile interface designed to communicate with various devices in your smart home.

In a splashy new ad, we see a woman wake up and go about her morning routine, accompanied by Ballie:

Ballie helps the woman by setting off her morning alarm, opening her curtains, turning on her fancy rotating television, working things in the kitchen, and telling the robot vacuum to clean up a spill. Ballie also entertains the dog by turning on Animal Planet and allows you to watch your dog while you’re away from home.

Is Ballie adorable? Oh my God, yes. Who doesn’t want a cute chirping little droid rolling around your ankles and preheating your oven? But as cute as Ballie is, it’s pretty vague what the rest of its applications are, especially if you don’t have the picturesque Samsung smart home of the commercial.

It’s also concerning that Ballie’s camera is constantly following you and collecting data about your lifestyle. While Samsung promises stringent data protections, there’s no guarantee of any real protection in this scary digital world. Aside from real concerns, for technophobes, there’s more than a little similarity here to a Black Mirror episode. Let’s hope that Ballie isn’t activated by a digital copy of your consciousness doomed to spend eternity in a prison of optimizing your air conditioning settings.

Many took to Twitter to share their first reactions to Ballie:

So what, besides the cuteness factor, does Ballie have to offer that Alexa and Google Home do not? Well, with the looks of a tennis ball, Ballie is sure to be your dog’s newest and most expensive chew toy. Ballie may be the latest example of smart tech, but I doubt it’s fast enough to outrun my Jack Russell terrier.

(via Engadget, image: David Becker/Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.