TECHNOLOGY

Amazon Astro is a robot for no reason


what do you You get it when you mix up Amazon Alexa Voice assistant with extension Echo Show Tablet, give it a big dose of AI, and combine it all with Ring Home Security SystemAnd let it spin around your house independently? You get a robot for a robot.

Actually you Get AstroAmazon’s home robot has been rumored for a long time. The company has been working on this for nearly four years, and it has done so plans for Astro. It’s not quite sure what this stuff is just yet, so it delivers Android by invitation only, hoping that thousands of early adopters can help define its purpose. The 2-foot-20-pound robot has a 10-inch touch screen; includes a set of sensors, cameras and microphones; And it can travel, in multiple directions, around your home. It costs $1000.

Astro underscores Amazon’s seriousness about robotics, an area in which the company has invested heavily for years as part of its repository network. It also shows how seriously Amazon takes its devices — and services — into every corner of our homes. But Astro, as cool as he is, is a bot for no reason, at least for now. Dave Limp, head of Amazon devices, outlined some potential use cases in an interview with WIRED, including elder care and home security. But ultimately, Limp says, the company wants to put it in the hands of customers so it can identify the robot’s “unique use cases.”

ROBO ROCK

Video: Amazon

Astro bot is powered by two Qualcomm chips, with artificial intelligence processing built into the chipset. Its operating system is based on FireOS and Linux. It has five motors to give it some oomph, and it can carry a small load on its back (anything that weighs less than 5 pounds).

Its face is a simple looking tablet, but this is where you can swipe or tap your way through commands or video chats without having to rely on voice control. It’s also where you’ll find Astro’s eyes, which are meant to give her more life than the cold glass screens we’re used to. Alexa is integrated into Astro as well, so you can also joke around with her to your heart’s content.

Early reports likened this to a robot vacuum cleanerAnd they’re not wrong, except for the whole house cleaning part. Astro runs on battery, and when it runs out, it finds its way back to a stationary charging base. Closer to a robotic vacuum cleaner is the robot’s array of sensors: Astro is filled with “ultrasonic sensors, time-of-flight cameras and other imaging tools that let the robot know what it’s going around and where it’s headed,” according to the edge. It also has a periscope camera that extends from the top of the robot.



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