Amazon’s Astro robot uses fear to enter your home
The future of home robotics wasn’t supposed to be so dumb. We were promised K-9 companions, Baymax best friends, tiny droids with built-in projectors, and parties with Bender, the ultimate party robot. Instead, we’ve had several different incarnations of empty, self-driving cars that can’t drive themselves. Elon Musk’s latest creation wants it to be sophisticated like Richard Simmons’ robotic The simpsons.
Now we have Astro, a three-wheeled robot that’s less of an android buddy, more RoboCop if he ran the local neighborhood watch.
The Astro, announced on Tuesday, is being touted as a convenience tool, a butler robot that its own ad will be used to check to see if the hob has been left on and allows users to video call the greats. parents. It moves at one meter per second, senses movement anywhere it patrols, and can be hooked up to a Ring home security system.
It can support the elderly, says Dave Limp, Amazon’s hardware manager. It can be directed through your phone, allowing the owner to look through their camera like a periscope. Using its facial recognition software, it can detect intruders it doesn’t recognize (which can lead to predictable and depressing problems). He’s also a little cute, a rectangular-headed puppy who looks at his owner with bright Wall-E eyes.
Along with Astro, Amazon also announced a slew of new smart gadgets designed to take Bezos’ business further into the family home. There’s a Â£ 45 Alexa-enabled thermostat, an interactive kids tablet and a rival Fitbit watch for Â£ 60. All are controlled using the Alexa assistant.
Not all robots are stupid. They provide jobs for crippled people in Japanese cafes. They could help autistic children improve their social skills. Robot puppies do flips, which is nothing if not new, and only in rare cases do they go wild and attack old people.
Many social robots, such as ‘aging associate’ ElliQ, Jibo, and the Â£ 5,000 robotic fluffy pet therapy ball Paroseal, seemingly serve good purposes, but haven’t had a noticeable impact. Amazon, meanwhile, sold 1.4 million Ring bells in 2020 alone and has signed deals with more than 2,000 U.S. law enforcement and fire departments. Indeed, Alexa is now available in more than 80 countries.
In the home robot market, Amazon’s sheer size means it has a better chance of succeeding where others have failed. But where other bots come up with nifty little companions for lone grandparents or fluffy seals to cuddle for the kids, Amazon’s message is clear: âWant to keep your family safe? Our products can help you.
Worried that someone might steal your message? Buy our letterbox motion detector for $ 30. To go on holiday? For $ 5 per month, Alexa Guard Plus will listen to noises in your home and play the sound of barking dogs.
Half of the products advertised in Amazon’s 2021 storefront were related to home security. Astro and the now-available Ring Always Home Cam security drone are little more than snooping around. A fully automated snitch that turns its owners into curious neighbors.