Second semester slump is kicking in, and our dorms look just as mopey as we feel. Do you really want a pet, but you live in college housing? Is your room a mess? Do you and your roommates need something new to help you procrastinate? Is there just not a single human who truly understands you? Street has found the robots to make spring semester a little more bearable. 

Amazon Tap (Alexa)

Price: $129.99 (or try the smaller speaker, the Echo Dot, for $49.99) With just 13 Wharton Behavioral Lab studies, this bot can be yours. (Ed. note: We know, we know...robots don't come cheap.)

Availability: Amazon

The Amazon Tap is a sleek, portable Bluetooth speaker that responds to the name Alexa. You can ask her to play music from Prime Music, Pandora and Spotify. She can also read news, report weather and Google anything you need her to. You can tell Alexa, “Open Dominos and place my Easy Order,” — and she'll do so within seconds.  If you and your roommates feel like having a 2 a.m. dance party, she can blast your favorite booty–shaking playlist or play a calmer one for your Sunday hangover. She’s the perfect party speaker or companion to talk to when your roommates are away. Alexa is the roommate who always listens—and we all love that roommate.


Price: TBA

Availability: Olly will be available for purchase in spring or summer this year

A new friend for you and your roommates — one who knows how unique you all are. Olly is a table–top bot that recognizes the different members of a household and changes its personality to fit each housemate accordingly.  A serious, logical person’s Olly will give more data–driven answers than a curious person’s Olly, which would talk fast and give an array of options and suggestions. Olly’s personality also can evolve based on interaction patterns. Its functionality is focused on smarter scheduling, so it’s designed to help individuals who need help optimizing their time. If you’re on a tight schedule but inform Olly that you need time to destress at the gym, Olly will prompt you at what it believes are opportune moments. You can also use Olly to remind you of smaller things, like a meeting or recitation. Olly, like other voice command devices, will be able to perform Google searches,  but it will also be able to autopilot your domestic lifestyle needs once  it gets to know you and record your habits. For example, if Olly starts to realize that you listen to the same song every morning while you're in the shower, it will start to play that song — without you even having to ask. 


Price: $699 (go sign up for 70 Wharton Behavorial Labs now)

Availability: You can preorder now with a $100 deposit and KURI will arrive in time for Christmas 2017

Do you want to spy on what your roommate does while you’re gone or what your cat does when nobody’s home? This robot from Mayfield Robotics was created around personality and can help you do just that. It drives around your home avoiding obstacles and has eyes equipped with a camera that can capture photo/video, recognize faces and monitor your home. Kuri can safeguard your house while you're out and even record what your pet is doing while you’re asleep in lecture. This robot has emotive eyes and is super friendly—a perfect addition for your apartment in 2017. 


Price: $374.99-$899.99 (divided by your number of housemates!)

Availability: iRobot

A robot that vacuums for me, say what? Face it, that cleaning rotation cycle in your apartment just isn’t cutting it anymore. Nobody has time to vacuum during midterms, anyway — that’s why the Roomba should be your newest apartment member. This robot is a small computerized cleaner that roams around your house automatically brushing and vacuuming the carpets, rugs and floors. The Roomba roams on wheels and can clean almost any space it can drive into. It has sensors onboard to detect dirt and avoid objects that might get in the way. The best part: it puts itself back in its charger when it’s done for next time. It’s the perfect roommate: one that cleans without you reminding them to.

Okay, maybe these robots seem smarter than the average Penn student. But there’s nothing like a smart friend to help you get through a rough semester. Throw a house party with Alexa and her friends—it will probably make The Round Up.


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