The tech giant announced a slew of hardware at a major fall event, but the show is stolen by a tiny robot that follows you around the house.
A security drone, a kind of Fitbit, new versions of the Ring camera doorbell and a communication portal for families, Amazon is announcing a slew of new devices this week, most of them equipped with a new AI chip developed by the tech giant itself. Most notable is the Astro robot, with which the company wants to open up the market for home robots, as it did earlier with Alexa for smart assistants.
Astro is a so-called ‘home robot’, and the thing is actually not that different from that Alexa, but with wheels and a camera. The device was clearly designed to look as cute and harmless as possible, with rounded shapes and a tablet that doubles as a ‘face’. It follows you around the house and should teach your behaviours and desires that way. In addition, it learns the structure of your house and can follow voice commands.
It can recognize faces to give roommates reminders where necessary. Because the device is very low to the ground, a kind of periscope is provided, with which the camera extends up to a meter because that is not scary or anything. Provided an update, the device can give treats to your dog. By the way, it comes standard with a cup holder, although we don’t immediately see how it can get you those beers without arms.
Moreover, since you now have a camera with wheels in your house, you could remotely monitor your pets and roommates via Astro, which is ideal for people who want to ruin the bond of trust with those roommates.
Although Amazon would like to point out that that rolling microphone and camera with periscope will really respect your privacy. By default, Alexa’s privacy functions are included (which in the past had mixed success with that whole privacy story), and you can also prohibit Astro from entering certain zones, such as the bathroom, for example. Initial reports already show that an important ‘no-go zone’ will be formed by ‘another floor’, because the device cannot take stairs.