Meet Astro, the Cute New Robot!

An endearing innovation that could soon feel part of the family.

Meet Astro, the Cute New Robot! | An endearing innovation that could soon feel part of the family.

People have always imagined what a world with robots would look like, from watching Rosie, the beloved robotic maid of the 1960s cartoon series, The Jestsons, to R2D2, a fan-favorite robot from the Star Wars movies.  Robots have always intrigued people, and now, thanks to an Amazon innovation, cuter robots are starting to become a household reality. 

Amazon recently announced its latest launch at the company’s annual device event,  a robot called Astro, as reported by the New York Times. Small in size, but with impressive technology, Astro is seemingly similar to Amazon’s popular virtual assistant. With all the same capabilities as Alexa, many critics are asking why there’s a need for Astro. 

Answering this question, Amazon’s VP of  Products, Charlie Tritschler, highlights some unique features of Astro that makes it, as he writes, “a different kind of robot.” Firstly, unlike Alexa, Astro can move on its own and follow people, offering consumers a far broader range of options. It also has home monitoring features for security and for remotely checking up on loved ones, or to just see what your pets are up to when you leave them home alone. 

Astro uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn more about household members by interacting with users. Users can also enroll themselves and others into Astro’s recognition system. When they leave home,  they can activate an away mode known as  “Sentry mode”, or a related “Patrol Mode”  to ensure that strangers don’t enter. If someone unrecognizable does enter the house, Astro will follow and record them according to another report by Vice.

Astro’s mobility seems to be the key feature in its technological enhancement but what attracts people the most to Amazon’s $999 robot is its “unique persona”. Its big, circular,  blinking “eyes” displayed on its screen-like head and making it look rather cute are a big reason for this, according to the New York Times.

Years of research show that humans have often experienced positive emotional connections with robots according to MIT’s technology review of Astro, and Amazon’s new bot may not fall far from this observation. Studies mentioned in the report have shown that people have come to love robotic pets,  even though they are fully aware that the pets are inanimate. Robots at home can play a useful role in helping elderly patients combat loneliness or young children face social anxiety. Household members  even refer to their robotic vacuum cleaners as part of the family, sometimes even giving this common household robot a gender and name! 

Amazon is offering people interested in Astro the chance to sign up for “Day 1 Editions”, a program granting invites to Astro as soon as it starts shipping later this year. 

The company has already given their robot a name, but Tritschler is encouraging people to personalize this robot when it becomes available soon, and is confident that users will come up with even more ideas and features they will want to see in the robot in the near future to make it even better.

Blue Skies Ahead With Fashion Made From Smog!
Introducing the New Smart Wheelchair
Meet an Architect With Cool Designs on Trash