Amazon, on September 28, 2021, announced the long-awaited home robot. The home robot is called Astro and will be available to users at the price of $999. However, it would not be mass-marketed as of now and will only be sold on invitation from Amazon. The robot was designed to help users navigate and enjoy the features all around the house. It can also be used to search the web, such as looking for real money slots. In addition, the robot can move around the house. It also can detect unusual activities that might occur in the absence of the users.
A Brief History of Astro
Astro is set to be one of the most popular and advanced technologies that Amazon has released after the Echo smart speakers. Astro, the home robot, is shaped as a cute product with cartoon-like eyes set on a touchscreen interface. Astro comes with a periscope camera and microphone. The robot requires no external control and can navigate around the terrain autonomously. Users can use Astro for a hands-free video calling experience as it can move around. Amazon has called the device “ An engineering breakthrough.”
Specifications of Astro
Astro, the smart home robot, weighs around 20 pounds. It is currently around two feet tall and looks like a touchscreen with wheels. The name Astro is rumoured to be influenced by the name of the non-robotic dog with the same name in “The Jetsons” animated sitcom. The device was initially designed to check the security of the owner’s house in their absence and look after pets. The periscope camera that is attached to the robot can pop up from the head of the device. This feature helps Astro “see” all the activities around it and provides continuous surveillance. It is advantageous to people who want to keep an eye on the activities of their house in their absence.
Astro combines the features of the Amazon Echo dot and a security camera from the Ring company. The device can capture and record live videos and has face recognition software to identify and recognize faces. Additionally, like Amazon Echo, Astro can also play videos and music. It uses top-notch Artificial Intelligence technology and cameras and sensors to follow users’ commands and move around. There are sensors located on the frontal side of the robot. In addition, there are a set of speakers between the sensors on the frontal part of the robot. The speakers are roughly two inches, and a passive resonator is attached to the bottom of the robot to improve bass output.
However, Astro doesn’t have any legs, implying that it cannot clean floors like Roomba. Additionally, it cannot ascend stairs or move outside into the open. Instead, it incorporates drive wheels 12 inches in diameter. These wheels are believably big enough to cross and access door thresholds and push through the carpet. A solitary caster in the rear end helps it in keeping its balance in check. The Astro can move along at a prime speed of one meter every second. Astro also can change positions through 360 degrees. It has a wide range of movements, including going forward, backward, or any direction.
What Did Amazon Have to Say About Astro?
Amazon has hailed Astro as a revolutionary device. It has helped unite and merge many different parts of the company, such as robotics, AI, home monitoring, cloud services. This has to lead them to be merged into one super device. Amazon claims the Astro robot can do everything that one can expect from a home robot. It can chalk out and analyze the floor plan of various rooms and follow commands to go to a specific room. Amazon has claimed that it can also access third-party devices and equipment to access data like blood pressure and store it. However, they cannot be used for gaming purposes. Amazon has revealed that all of the processing and repository for these maps happens locally on the device. After this, a “portion of that data is sent securely to the cloud” so the user can ask Astro where to go using the Despite smartphone app.
What Are Some Examples of Its Features?
- Astro can be programmed to be set with “out of bounds’ ‘ zones: Astro would not be able to go into certain areas.
- Astro can also be set to “do not disturb.”
- It allows the user to turn off cameras and microphones: if turned off, it loses its capacity for movement.
- The screen sports two circles that behave as “eyes: they allow the user to intercept what movement the Astro is performing or where it’s planning to go.
- The user can also program specific “viewpoints” in their home: the robot can remember them.
Finally, the user can command Astro to visit a specific location either through a voice command or remotely through the app.
As of now, the home robot can just be linked to a single phone at a time. However, Amazon claims that this is a safety measure to help deter unauthorized access or use.
Criticisms Regarding Astro
Amazon has claimed that privacy is the key to Astro. Security and privacy were the top considerations Amazon claimed it had made during the designing process. However, what’s worrying many critics is the excessive amount of data Amazon accesses while the user controls Astro. Critics have felt that this gives the company easy access to the household and all related information, going one step beyond Alexa, only audio surveillance. In addition, some of the anonymous developers who worked on the project anonymously told the publication Indian Express that there were issues with the robot failing to recognize people. It was also revealed that the device does not handle stairs well. One anonymous commentator called Astro a “disaster that’s not ready for release” and that the home robot is a “privacy nightmare.”
Despite the wide array of speculations and opinions regarding Astro, Amazon has again made a mark on the market. In addition, Amazon has successfully made its presence felt in consumers’ homes through “experimental” products such as the Echo smart speaker or the Kindle ebook reader. Therefore, all the latest robots for home systems are beneficial, handy and innovative; they provide us with lots of everyday opportunities to enjoy our lives more.