Amazon has recently announced a slew of brand-new products during its fall product event. One of the event’s highlighted announcements came in the form of the company’s very first home robot, Astro. Equipped with a rotating screen that’s mounted onto a base with wheels, Astro is a home robot designed to appear animated and friendly, with eyes and expressive body movements that respond to user interaction.
Astro is about the size of a small dog. It roams around the house on three wheels, including two big ones that prevent it from getting stuck and a smaller one for rotating. The robot is like a combination of Amazon’s other gadgets on wheels.
Astro can move on its own, traversing from room to room by navigating around objects on the floor or braking to avoid collision with obstacles. It also halts and navigates around pets that move into its path. The home robot is equipped with a periscope camera that is attached to the base of the device, which can be raised or lowered to view objects that are higher up.
The robot can also be remotely controlled from a phone app, which is useful for keeping a close eye on loved ones. Amazon will also sell a third-party insert created by Omron that fits into the back storage compartment of Astro, allowing it to hold a blood pressure cuff. This opens up so many possibilities for aged care from a distance, allowing users to set up reminders such as blood pressure checks and the like.
Astro also comes equipped with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. It can set and deliver reminders, serve up entertainment such as TV shows or podcasts, control smart home devices, and many more. Astro also responds if its owner asks it to beatbox, making the robot make musical noises to the best of its abilities.
The innovative home robot also has security and safety features that would keep any home safe from any harm through integration with Amazon’s smart home security subsidiary Ring. Astro can autonomously patrol a user’s home while they are away, keeping watch for any suspicious activities. It can flag potential intruders and listen for things such as broken glass or smoke alarms through its Alexa Guard feature.
Privacy should not be a concern with Astro around. Amazon has reiterated that Astro’s camera, microphone, and motion sensors can be switched off by pressing a button. Users may also designate rooms and boundaries where Astro is off-limits.
In spite of its amazing features, Astro has its limitations as well. It doesn’t have arms or limbs, so it can’t pick things up. It also can’t go up or downstairs, so it’s really only good for one floor of a house.
Starting today, Astro costs $999.99 and is available via invitation only. Currently, there is no commercial release date for Astro, but the company said that it would begin granting invitations later this year. Amazon continues to innovate the world one product at a time, and Astro is yet again another milestone in the company’s astronomical success in the field of technological innovation.