While it was a fun demo, there were some caveats. For one, it was clearly a controlled environment, as the robot still relied on labels on the floor to better locate key objects, such as the sofa, umbrella stand, mini fridge and door. A company rep said this was merely to increase the positioning precision, and stressed that the robot is capable of navigating itself around using the company's own Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) algorithm.
Similarly, for the sake of safety, the robot moved around slowly so I had to be patient. The demo today also skipped a few features, with the most notable ones being face recognition and voice recognition. In other words, I didn't have much real interaction with Walker apart from touching its hands when passing objects, which was a shame given how it could apparently do so much more.
Still, outside of the demo, I was able to test the robot further. For Walker's stabilization, I gently pushed it while it was walking, and it was able to recover quickly after one step. Understandably, when I nudged again right after that one recovery step, Walker almost fell over. I'm not sure if this robot will ever reach Boston Dynamics' level when it comes to taking such abuse, but then again, it probably doesn't need to in home environments.
Given its snail pace and missing features, there's still some ways to go before Walker can become a fully qualified home robot. In fact, Ubtech doesn't even have a price nor date for this machine just yet. Still, the company seems serious about bringing Walker to consumers, with a rep telling us that this should happen "in the very near future" which could either mean within this year if not next. Regardless, I'm looking forward to having my very own robot butler at home some day.