Amazon unveiled its first home robot yesterday, which the media described as “Alexa on wheels“. The Astro robot will initially be available only to a limited number of people at a cost of a thousand dollars, and should subsequently become available to everyone. However, given that the robot does not have some advanced features, the question is how much money will people really set aside for the Astro.
It consists of two wheels (12 inches in diameter), a small storage space, and a screen. It comes with five built-in motors, cameras, sensors, and also has a periscope camera that can be raised above table level, which should help in more effective surveillance.
It is the supervision of the house that is one of the possibilities that Amazon mentioned during its presentation. Eg. when the house is empty the Astro can be activated via the app to make a few laps around the apartment and serve as a monitoring robot. The robot can map the surface of the apartment and move around it avoiding all obstacles, it listens to voice commands (supports assistant Alexa) so it can read the weather forecast, answer various questions, can be used for video calls, and can monitor its owner around the house, play music and similar.
Another option that can be used is to transfer things from one room to another (when someone is lazy to take, for example, a phone to your partner you can put it on the Astro and order it to go to another room), and given it has two holders glass/bottle, a bottle of beer can be placed in it and sent to people watching a game on the couch. Also, the Astro has two speakers that are quite loud, and as the robot constantly monitors people, it can be used as a mobile/portable speaker.
But if you expect some vacuuming or cleaning from it, you will be disappointed. The question is how the robot will react in a room where there are smaller children who could sit on it or test its endurance. Amazon hopes that over time, the robot will become better and better because, in addition to being able to learn from the habits of tenants and adapt to them, over time, developers will be able to work with applications that will increase its capabilities.
Shortly after the introduction of the Astro, the media published the stories of some of the people who worked on the robot and were not very impressed with its capabilities. One unnamed person called it a “disaster that is not ready to be presented“, while another said that it could not move well on the stairs and that it would throw itself down the stairs if given the opportunity to do so. Amazon also reacted to this, emphasizing that these are older stories that cannot be applied to the current model of this robot.
What the Astro really is should be found out in the coming months when it really starts to be used by households.
By: Amber V. – Zexron