Amazon’s Astro is a robot for no reason.
What do you do? Get it when you combine Amazon’s Alexa Voice Assistant with the Echo Show tablet, give it a heavy dose of artificial intelligence, integrate it all with the color home security system, and let it automatically move around your home. You get a robot for the sake of a robot.
Actually, you get Astro, the long rumored robot from Amazon. The company has been working on it for almost four years, and it has. Plans Astro is still not sure what they are, so it is only offering robots by invitation, hopefully thousands of early users can help explain who it is for. The 2-foot-tall, 20-pound robot has a 10-inch touch screen. Includes a range of sensors, cameras and microphones and can wheel in multiple directions around your home. It costs a thousand dollars.
Astro demonstrates Amazon’s seriousness about robotics, an area in which the company has invested heavily over the years as part of its warehouse network. It also shows how serious Amazon is about getting its devices and services in every corner of its home. But Astro, as cute as it is, is a robot, at least for now, for no reason. Dave Lump, head of Amazon’s hardware, said in an interview with Wired that there were some potential uses, including elderly care and home security. But ultimately, Lamp says, the company wants to take it into the hands of consumers so they can identify “unique usage issues” for the boot.
The AstroBoot is powered by two Qualcomm chips, which are included in the artificial intelligence processing chipset. Its operating system is based on FireOS and Linux. It has five motors that give it some omph, and it can carry a small load on the back (anything less than 5 pounds).
Its face is a simple looking tablet, but this is where you can swipe or tap your way via command or video chat without relying on voice control. This is also the place where you will find Astro’s eyes, which aim to give it more life than cold, glass screens. Alexa is also made in Astro, so you can make fun of Dad with it to your heart’s content.
Initial reports have likened it to a robot vacuum cleaner, and they are not wrong, clean the whole house. The Astro runs on batteries and, when it runs out, finds its way back to a fixed charging post. The boot has sensors even more similar to a robot vacuum cleaner: the Astro has “ultrasonic sensors, time-of-flight cameras and other imaging tools that tell the robot what’s going on around it and where it’s going,” The Verge’s It also has a periscope camera that extends over the boot.