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Buddy robot
Attendees at CES in Las Vegas stop to check out Buddy, a small robot from French company Blue Frog. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

LAS VEGAS — It’s hard enough to navigate the showroom floor at CES without knocking into people or bumping products perched on booth tables. Roll a cute robot into the mix and the controlled chaos loses a bit of the control part.

Among all the humans, there are plenty of robots on display in Las Vegas this week, and they come in all shapes and sizes and perform a wide variety of tasks.

But Buddy appeared to be a show stopper.

Buddy robot
Hey, Buddy. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

The little white entertainment and assistant robot from French company Blue Frog was putting a smile on the faces of passersby on Wednesday — perhaps because of the smile on his own “face.”

Buddy had a lot to smile about — the robot was awarded a CES Best of Innovation Award for 2018 in the robotics and drones category.

Buddy robot
A Buddy robot on display as part of the CES 2018 Innovation Awards Showcase in Las Vegas. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

The bot is designed to interact with smart home applications, provide multimedia entertainment, act as a personal assistant and provide security services such as surveillance patrol and alerts.

Buddy will continue to learn as his AI is tweaked. Maud Verraes, a marketing director with Blue Frog, said the goal is “to make him not a human, but close to what we know.”

“We want a Buddy surprise every day,” she said.

Part of humanity’s fascination with robots can clearly be traced to the popularity of the Star Wars franchise and everyone’s favorite droid, R2-D2.

As Buddy rolled across the red carpet, he didn’t beep beep or project a hologram of Princess Leia, but each time he stopped and turned, humans did the same thing. They reached down to pat him on the head. They crouched to get better cell phone pictures. They smiled.

Salim Azouzi, a sales director for the 4-year-old Blue Frog, stood by watching, knowing fully what to expect each time a fresh crowd of people approached.

“He’s so attractive,” Azouzi said. “Look at that.”

Buddy robot
(GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)
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