Are you a dog lover or a robot lover? Because the Amazon Astro household robot is a seriously upgraded Fido!
Would you like to have a little rolling robot roaming around your home, keeping you company, and monitoring the house? It might sound like science fiction, but it’s officially a reality.
That’s because Amazon recently unveiled its newest innovation: A 2 foot-tall, 20-pound, touchscreen-equipped, Alexa-powered robot named Astro. What exactly does Astro do for you? We’ll talk about it below and go over the pros and cons of having an Alexa-powered robot in your house.
Yes, Astro is a robot… but what is it doing in your house?!
Household robots probably conjure up a lot of images… paging Rosie from The Jetson’s, anyone? So, what exactly is Astro, and why did Amazon create it in the first place?
Astro is a rolling household robot that combines computer vision, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Alexa, and Ring technologies into one compact package. It’s kinda like a digital dog on wheels, but with much more helpful skills.
Amazon made it mobile to solve issues with stationary devices (like a single indoor camera), allowing for easy communication with the elderly or disabled.
The idea is that people will be able to use it to check on rooms all over their houses, as well as the people and pets in them. It acts as a sophisticated, mobile, AI-driven security camera. And, to make Astro more personable, it has been designed with built-in mannerisms like eyes, screen motion, speech, and the ability to autonomously navigate around your house without bumping into things.
It’s not exactly Star Wars’ star-hopping, revolutionary R2D2, but it is the future!
Astro’s standout features
Astro is powered by two Qualcomm chips that have AI processing built in. Its operating system is based on FireOS and Linux. With five motors under the hood, it’s powerful. It’s also strong, able to carry up to five pounds on its back.
Its “face” is a plain black tablet with eyes that lend it expressive life. You can swipe or tap your way through commands or video chats on its face screen, or use voice commands. Astro’s built-in Alexa capabilities allow it to do everything the technology offers, such as find you entertainment or deliver calls and messages.
Astro is battery-powered; once the battery gets depleted, the robot finds its way back to a fixed charging dock for a power refill. It also comes with a variety of sensors to help with things like time-of-flight cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and other imaging and sensing tools that enable it to navigate your home. It also comes with a periscope camera that extends from its upper side.
Expect a little bit of everything from Astro
While Astro helps you communicate with elderly and disabled family members, that’s not its only benefit. Its 5-megapixel camera is great for video calls with faraway relatives like grandparents. You can also train it to follow you around while it plays songs on your playlist. It will carry things under five pounds to people in your house so you don’t have to do it yourself. You can also use it to monitor your Ring home security cameras, and you can engage with it socially just like you could with a pet.
Astro doesn’t go up and down stairs yet, so don’t expect it to follow you upstairs and jump into bed like your dog. You can train it to wait for you at the door when you get home, though!
An invasive addition to the family?
Despite Astro’s benefits, some people might find it to be an annoying rolling object for them to trip over. Others might consider it an added burden to the electricity bill. Still, others might worry about their privacy with a recording robot roaming around the house.
Whatever the case may be, Astro does point to a new and exciting future as far as home appliances go.
Are you ready for robots in your home?
What do you think? Are you ready to share your home with a robot? Comment your thoughts below and don’t forget to share this article with friends who love robots!
Cover image source: www.news18.com
sounds interesting, but what is the cost?
So its company friendly plays music can it hoover? dust tell me some one is at the door make a cup of tea. At present i have 2 dogs good company Alexa tells me stories
she talks to me. I asked her today to tell me something nice. She told me my dogs love me. also a story about an acorn. I was very surprised how does she know i have dogs.
She is an old model i am learning from her.I am also 80 but i am not good with the digital age. A couple of models on she will have learnt to do even more. Sounds like every home should have one .
Hi a small useful dog like
Robot could replace my dog when downsizing to smaller home in the future. Keep me posted on developments and price.
I am intrigued especially if it is reasonably priced. I have Alexa and Ring products all over my home. I’m a retired senior and avoided getting a live dog because of feeding and taking it for walks. Astro could be a good addition if it is transportable.
Interesting, but VERY serious privacy concerns.
I’m still at a loss about exactly what it does. It can monitor empty rooms, and it can follow me around. I can carry 5 pounds myself, but not 10 and neither can Astro. It can take messages, which my phone already does. It offers – possibly – video calls, which my laptop already does. The idea that family members can track me or check in on me at will is frightening. Anything like that would be open to hacking, so what happens to our privacy? It doesn’t seem to do any household chores. What exactly does it do for a likely high cost? (I don’t want a computer as a companion. C’mon.) This comment probably won’t make it in, making your comment policy a bit unfair.
It would be the Right possibilty to Watch out for me and my dogs.
how much are they ??? when will they be ready to order ?????
I am intrigued.
I think it would be wonderful!!! I would love to have an Astro in my home!! I think it would be so exciting!!!
I am seriously thinking of purchasing your robot. I already have Alexa, and the Ring security doorbell,and Astro would became good addition. I plan to check with Amazon online and order Astro soon.
Depends on the COST.
I think this would work very well. I have a Roomba vacuum cleaner and it is very efficient and it empties itself. Very satisfactory. An Astro would work very well for elderly people and enable them to live in their homes. Keeping an eye on an elderly relative will take all the worry out of their children. I would certain buy one. I am 85 and my husband is 93. We are both active and manage very well but in the future this would be useful.
I would love one to monitor the inside of the house while we are gone.
Yes!!!! I could really use a robot. After spinal surgery, I can’t stoop to pick up things from the floor or things that I drop on the floor. At the moment I have 2 kinds of grabbers but I still have real difficulty with some things — eg. picking up a credit card is quite impossible. I have to dangle sticky tape until it sticks to the card. Picking up extremely small things or even a plate (they slide around and it is very difficult to get a grip). My main problem is with putting on sox and shoes (I can’t reach or tie laces), picking up things and carrying things like groceries into my house. At the moment I load the bags onto my walker and make a number of trips from my carport to my kitchen. Although I live alone, I have worked out ways to do the most difficult things because I prefer to live independently and don’t intend to just give up and sit around. I’m an octogenarian!!!
Finally the robotic world is catching up to the modern day needs of a household. I think this will be a wonderful gadget to use for the elderly and the people on their own. The communication aspect makes it special an maybe a system can be added for medical assistance when needed by elderly or those infirmed so help is at hand. Does it have the capability to go outside and watch the kids in the pool etc. Obviously it can’t open doors yet, so if the doors internally re shut it is limited to where it can go. Technology still has a long way to go. e are still trying t vreate a robot like a human and are getting better with AI. Who knows where this will go?
I want to know more about Astro.