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Robots and smart home assistants were all over CES 2017 this month, and with them, plenty of interesting names.

The biggest trend we’re seeing in robot/assistant names coming out of CES is certainly not a new idea, but its prevalence in the category now is becoming quite striking: four-letter names with a consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel pattern. The new players taking on this trend include:

  • Leka, an interactive robot designed for children special needs.
  • Nora, a sleeping assistant which combines a bedside sensor that listens for snoring, and a pillow insert that responds to snoring by inflating to reposition the snorer’s head. (Nora, snorer, get it? It helps to imagine your favorite Bostonian saying it.)
  • Yobi, a family voice assistant and robot, made by iBaby, with a variety of child-friendly features. (Yo, baby!)
  • Bixi, a small, easily portable, motion-sensing device for touch-free gesture control of smart devices in your home and car.
  • Kuri, an adorable domestic robot from Mayfield Robotics, who looks quite a bit like WALL-E’s love interest, Eve.
  • Hugo, a smart camera combining voice communication and home monitoring—for security or for a baby monitor. The name, inexplicably, is alternately written Hugo, HuGo and HUGO on their own homepage, but we’re sticking with good old Hugo.

And some slight variations on the pattern above:

  • Kikoo, a companion robot for children made by Hanwuji Intelligence. Fun fact: “kikoo” is a modern version of the old-fashioned cutesy French greeting “coucou.”
  • Mykie, Bosch’s kitchen assistant that focuses on helping you cook (e.g. look up recipes and project instructional videos), and connects to Bosch’s new connected ovens and refrigerators. “Mykie” is, they say, short for “my kitchen elf.” Cute, eh?
  • Lynx (keeping the 4 letters, but switching up the structure) is a full-on robot by Ubtech Robotics—it’s basically Alexa with a whole robot body that can walk around your house.

A few robots and assistants broke the mold with different styles of names:

  • Mattel upped the intelligence factor with the name of its kid-friendly smart home assistant, Aristotle. The device is, in part, a standard Alexa assistant, but if you summon Aristotle instead of Alexa, you get a completely different assistant designed to interact with kids. The fun bonus for this name? It has “tot” embedded in it. Adorbs.
  • Seven Dreamers went old school with the name for their laundry-folding robot, Laundroid. Since this is more of a technical robot than a personified one, this works well.
  • Last, and least, LG made zero effort when naming the LG Hub Robot. This humdrum name for a domestic robot using Alexa technology manages to make a super cool robot sound super boring. LG also whet consumers’ appetites with the introduction of the LG Lawn Mowing Robot, among other scintillating names.

LG aside, we found a lot of names to get excited about in the robot / home assistant category at CES. We have a clear trend that doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, plus a couple of interesting outliers and lots of little hidden references. It’s nice to have such fun names to address our future overlords.

P.S. For an interesting look at why so many new robots look alike (beyond being named alike!), take a look at this article about social robots’ design characteristics.

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