Amazon has always pushed the envelope on consumer experience in terms of convenience, with functions like Amazon Prime, fantastic customer service, and more.
Alexa was Amazon’s first introduction of devices for the home, and it’s had an immense impact as a popular home assistant. But Amazon’s newest home assistant is the incredible Amazon Astro, a home-assistant robot.
From Amazon’s site:
“Astro is a new and different kind of robot, one that’s designed to help customers with a range of tasks like home monitoring and keeping in touch with family. It brings together new advancements in artificial intelligence, computer vision, sensor technology, and voice and edge computing in a package that’s designed to be helpful and convenient.”
Amazon Astro comes equipped with a large display screen which serves as the face of the Astro as well as a recording module. This screen is connected to the body of the apparatus, which has durable wheels that can rotate in any direction. The Astro is something like a distant cousin of the popular “Roomba,” but functions more as a visual guide to what’s going on in your home.
Safety is likely the most immediate application of the Astro. The Astro can monitor certain rooms in your home, patrol areas you designate, and check in on elderly family members or babies in a crib, for example. It’s a great tool for being able to remotely monitor what’s happening in your home while you’re away, including things like smoke detection, attempted break-ins, and more.
Also from Amazon’s site:
“Astro will be able to help customers who are remotely caring for elderly relatives and loved ones. Your loved one can ask Astro to set and deliver reminders, or you can use Drop In to stay connected. When used with Alexa Together, a new service designed to help family members feel more comfortable and confident living independently, family members can set up Reminders and receive alerts to give caregivers the reassurance that their loved ones are active and going about their day. Alexa Together also gives loved ones 24/7 hands-free access to Urgent Response, a professional emergency helpline.”
The Astro has a periscope camera that can view objects at virtually any angle within your home, including things like checking to see if an oven has been turned on, looking in the pantry to see what food items you might need to buy at the store once you’re away from the house, and more.
The Astro Guard system includes things like a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke detector that can send alerts in case something is happening in your home while you’re away.
When you’re at home, the Astro can work as a great personal assistant. One can think of the Astro as something like Alexa on wheels. The Astro can play music with you and follow you around the house, play videos or TV shows, take a picture of you and your family or a video of you and your family as you move around the house, and it even has a caring compartment that can hold things like drinks or food to deliver to a certain family member in a certain area of the house.
The main advantages of the Astro are its mobility and ability to send and receive information and fulfill simple commands. It’s a prototype of what seems to be an upcoming line of robotics offered by Amazon, and it will surely undergo improvements as it develops. The price tag for the Astro will be prohibitive for many families, at around $1,000. In addition, some have reported things like the Astro throwing itself down the stairs, putting itself in damaging situations, and so on.
Overall, the Astro represents an exciting new trend in home assistant devices.