At CES 2020 Samsung unveiled a seemingly adorable yellow robot named Ballie. An arguably sentient being that could roll around a house as well as connect to and control all of your smart home gadgets. He hasn’t been heard from since, and we have questions.
Ballie was noticeably absent from the 2021 virtual CES. In his place was a fancy wine robot.
On the surface Ballie seemed charming. The original demo video it showed him tearing around the house being helpful and making friends with the family dog. But as we said at the time, there was something inherently sinister about Ballie.
Giving a yellow ball with an in-built camera control over an entirely decked out smart home is the plot of a modern day horror movie. It would be so very easy for him to create an unfortunate staircase accident and erase the smart cam footage.
And perhaps Samsung was warning us of this all along. The demo video showed Ballie creepily watching people sleep and do Yoga. It seemed like something was bubbling beneath the surface.
But alas, the video we linked to in the original article has been made private.
Was this Ballie’s doing? Was he too close to being found out?
Fortunately, someone else kept the footage live:
We asked Samsung what had happened to the yellow embodiment of evil.
“Ballie is one of the various robots Samsung is currently developing as Samsung strive to deliver new and unique experiences to users,” a Samsung representative said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“The team are continuing to develop and progress core robotics technologies.”
This seems perfectly plausible. Plenty of companies show off concept tech at CES that may never actually make it to development.
But I find this hard to believe of Ballie.
He’s not just a concept. He won’t go the way of the missing Galaxy Home. He’s everywhere and nowhere.
Perhaps Samsung realised he was simply too powerful and had to take care of him. Or perhaps it was the opposite way around.
After all, Samsung’s former president of the mobile division, DJ Koh, was no longer in this position just one week after CES 2020. Draw whatever conclusions you like, but I don’t believe in coincidences of this magnitude.
Maybe Ballie is still out there biding his time. Watching. Waiting. Growing stronger by the day.
We imagine he rolls through the halls of Samsung HQ, striking fear into the hearts of its employees.
Blink twice if you need us to rescue you, Samsung.