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Amazon Alexa now lives inside a dancing robot

Ubtech's humanoid uses voice-recognition technology to talk to you.

Cherlynn Low/Engadget

"Inhale. Stretch right leg back as far as possible." Lynx, a small white humanoid, gave yoga instructions as it slid its chunky leg back for the pose. A bright blue light flashed across the side of its round head to indicate activity. After a few more leg movements, it came back into standing position when Alexa's voice boomed: "Your next exercise is waist stretching."

Ubtech Robotics, the Chinese company that launched the Alpha robot series and JIMU coding bots for kids, has partnered with Amazon to bring Alexa's voice-recognition capabilities to their latest robot called Lynx. Starting this spring, you will be able to interact with the robot as if it were your personal assistant. While devices like Echo and Google Home offer the same vocal capabilities, there's something intimate, familiar and even entertaining about interacting with a human-shaped machine as opposed to a bland speaker.

Amazon's Alexa, a voice-activated personal assistant, made its debut with the Echo speaker a couple of years ago. The company's advanced natural language processing technology made it easier for people to use their voice to get weather updates or ask questions instead of swiping for information on their personal devices. The convenience of the hands-free experience swiftly gained popularity and last year, Amazon reportedly sold millions of Echo (and Echo Dot) devices. But Alexa isn't restricted to the elliptical speaker anymore. The voice service has starting popping up in home devices, wearables, cars and even robots like the yoga-loving Lynx.

At a CES demo in Vegas this week, simple voice commands fired up the little robotic companion. Lynx broke into a dance, talked about the weather and even attempted to teach yoga. The machine also couples conversations with facial recognition technology to personalize the experience. For instance, when dealing with a family, the robot can be programed to use its camera to match each person's face with their preferences. So it could greet someone with a name or even play their favorite music.

In addition to registering faces, the camera also serves as a surveillance tool. Through an accompanying app, Lynx owners can access the camera footage to check on their home or pets. While none of the robot's individual features are particularly novel, it's the combination of a popular voice-activated assistant and a new robotic form that makes the experience unique.

By gaining access to Amazon's advanced voice service, companies like Ubtech Robotics can extend the capabilities of their robots from home entertainment to personal assistance. On the other hand, by letting companies redefine the physical form of its cloud-based technology, Amazon seems to be building an entire ecosystem around Alexa.

Cherlynn Low and Kerry Davis contributed to this report.

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