Robo-doc, dancing droids lead CES 2013 robot pack (pictures)

They'll help you get healthier, clean your floors, and entertain you. Robots take a step or two toward ubiquity at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
1 of 14 Tim Hornyak/CNET

Dr. Robot will see you now

At CES 2013, robots ranging from cleaning droids to dancing bots to bedside medical advisers swarmed the Las Vegas Convention Center. One of the more newsworthy machines is RP-VITA, a 5-foot-tall iPad-operated robot developed by iRobot and InTouch Health. Designed to allow remote doctors to communicate with patients through the display, RP-VITA is the first navigating communications medical robot to receive FDA approval.
2 of 14 Tim Hornyak/CNET

Bots with a view

Winbot from China's Ecovacs dispenses with magnetic support while washing your windows. Instead, a powerful suction system keeps it on the pane.

A $299 version will clean windows that have frames, in other words well-defined borders, while a $349 version will be able to clean glass walls or windows that have no frames.

3 of 14 Tim Hornyak/CNET

Robot ball + Nyan Cat = bliss

Orbotix showed off some new AR apps for its tablet-controlled robot ball Sphero. In addition to a zombie game called Rolling Dead, there's a Nyan Cat game in which Sphero turns into the beloved animated Pop-Tart feline on your screen.
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Lego gets more robotic

The new Lego Mindstorms EV3 platform can be used to assemble 17 different bots out of the box, such as this reptilian machine called Track3r.
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Toss out the pool brush, toss in Mirra

iRobot's new Mirra 530 pool-cleaning robot also made a splash at CES.

An improvement on the company's previous Verro pool bots, the $1,299 Mirra can pump and filter about 70 gallons of pool water per minute and suck up debris as small as 2 microns.

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Home helpers

Ecovacs was also exhibiting two robots designed to keep an eye on your home while you're out.

Famibot and Minibot can perform functions like roving around and purifying the air, alerting you if there's a fire or intruder, and sending your phone a video feed of your home.

They should hit U.S. markets in the first half of 2013, with Famibot having a suggested retail price of $899, and Minibot priced at $499.

7 of 14 Tim Hornyak/CNET

Telepresence on the cheap

We've seen telepresence platforms for $15,000 or more, but Maryland-based MantaroBot offers these iPads on wheels starting at only $1,650.

Recent features include a laser pointer and the ability to use any audio/video software such as Skype to communicate with friends while rolling around in a distant location.

8 of 14 Tim Hornyak/CNET

Robot 'Gangnam Style'

When Vietnamese toymaker Tosy's mRobo was first shown off at last year's CES, introduced by none other than Justin Bieber, its song-and-dance routine was underwhelming.

Tosy went back to work on the entertainer droid, giving it more actuators, moves by choreographer Derek Hough, and a tune to dance to -- something called "Gangnam Style," which you've probably never heard of.

9 of 14 Tim Hornyak/CNET

The drone is back

The iPad-controlled Parrot AR Drone was back yet again at CES 2013, this time with a GPS add-on that lets users set up a flight plan with open-source software. It can then fly the route autonomously.
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Titanoboa slithers in

EatArt's mechanical snake

Titanoboa is 50 feet long and weighs 1,200 pounds. While it usually creeps around Burning Man, it put in an appearance at CES, slithering in right by the CNET trailer.

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Cuddepanion pooch

Innvo Labs, which is behind the dinosaur robot Pleo, is working on prototype robot pets called Cuddlepanions. Designed to comfort seniors with lifelike sounds and motion, they've got skin sensors and a palpable heartbeat.
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Beam me up

Beam telepresence robots from Suitable Technologies wait for users before the opening of CES 2013.
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LG's dancing vacuums

LG's Home-bot vacuum robots put on a floor show at CES with lights, sound, and synchronized moves.
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iPhone for RoboSapien

WowWee's RoboSapien turns 10 this year. The venerable toy has a new smartphone control for iOS and Android -- a phone dongle that converts sound to infrared commands and replaces the traditional bulky remote control. Then it's ready to rock.

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