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Olly is like an Amazon Echo but with personality

It uses machine-learning to adapt to your behavior.
Nicole Lee, @nicole
01.04.17 in Home
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Everyone's making a smart personal assistant these days -- thanks, Alexa! -- but most of them aren't as adorable as the Olly. It's basically a doughnut-shaped speaker that lies flat when dormant but stands and spins around with lights flashing when active. But what sets the Olly apart from the Echo-clone pack is that it incorporates a bit of personality into the mix. What kind of personality? Well, yours: Olly's personality adapts to yours over time. According to London-based Emotech, its parent company, Olly's behavior will evolve depending on how you interact with it.

Gallery: Olly AI Assistant | 8 Photos

At CES, we saw two different models of the Olly. One spun around energetically and chattered with a fast cadence, while another was a lot more deliberate and only spoke when talked to. This, Olly's creators say, is based on the personalities of its owners, which it can judge based on how they speak.

It's all based on AI and machine-learning smarts, which help Olly figure out your interests and your daily routine. It's also able to recognize different household members by their voices, and will adjust its personality to suit each person.

Functionally, Olly is pretty similar to that of Amazon Echo or Google Home. You can use it to control your other smart devices, ask for the weather, schedule appointments and search for information on the internet. The unique characteristic of Olly lies in its personality and what it learns about you over time. So if you find out it's raining tomorrow, for example, it might suggest you read a book, and it could even recommend which book. Or if it might know what music to play when you make breakfast in the morning before you even have to request it.

The Olly devices we saw at the show were prototypes, but we hear that they should be out later this year, for a yet-to-be-disclosed price.

Richard Lawler contributed to this report.

Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2017.

In this article: ces2017, connectedhome, gear, hands-on, home, iot, olly

Raised in the tropics of Malaysia, Nicole arrived in the United States in search of love, happiness and ubiquitous broadband. That last one is still a dream, but two out of three isn't bad. Her love for words and technology reached a fever pitch in San Francisco, where she learned you could make a living writing about gadgets, video games and the internet. Truly, a dream come true. Other interests include baseball, coffee, cooking and chasing after her precocious little cat.

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