Amazon’s home robot Astro is precisely what I expected, but it’s not what I wanted, and it’s certainly not what anybody requested. Amazon’s initial effort at a home bot is basically a beefed-up Echo Show on wheels, rather than a multitasking replica of myself that can empty the dishwasher, pick up my kids’ shoes, feed the dog, and clean the house. Granted, the $1,449.99 Astro (or $999.99 for early adopters who receive invitations to buy it) has some remarkable wheels that let the 17-inch tall robot nimbly follow you around the home while playing music or streaming your favorite program. It also includes two cameras, which it utilizes to locate individuals and locations in your house in order to send things, reminders, or timers. When combined with a Ring membership, it may operate as a security guard and patrol your home, as well as fart and burp. In a nutshell, the Astro is a wheeled version of Amazon’s smart home goods and services.
The Amazon Astro, on the other hand, is a robot. And that’s a pretty nice portion. This is a true house robot, as opposed to the only other equivalent robot I’ve encountered: robot vacuums. Those clumsy bots aren’t particularly self-aware, and they mostly get in the way while attempting to clean your floors. The Astro, on the other hand, understands the concept of personal space, always keeping a respectful distance from people, dogs, bags, and any other large items that may be laying on the floor in its path. Instead of crashing into things, it will reroute or just wait to be rescued if there isn’t another way out, as it did when my daughter dropped her double bass in front of the bot’s charging station.
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