Amazon unveiled on Tuesday a new robot, Astro, powered by its Alexa smart home technology.
The company said the robot was more than “Alexa with wheels” and had been programmed with a range of movements and expressions to give it personality.
Astro can be remote-controlled when not at home, to check on pets, people, or home security. It can also patrol a home automatically and send owners a notification if it detects something unusual.
If you ask Astro to “beatbox” , the robot will bop its head and made expressions while playing hip-hop beats.
Regarding privacy concerns, Amazon said Astro can be set with “out of bounds” zones, so it cannot go into certain areas, or could be set to “do not disturb.”
It also features buttons to turn off cameras and microphones – though it loses its ability to move around when they are switched off.
Moreover, the technology and retail giant suggested that the $999.99 (£740) robot could be a help to the elderly.
“Astro is a bold move by Amazon, but a logical step given its expertise in robots and desire to become more integrated into consumers’ daily lives,” said Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight.
“Unlike some rivals, Amazon is willing to bring highly experimental products to market and see how customers react,” he asserted.
“Offering products resembling something from a science fiction novel positions Amazon as an innovative company in the eyes of consumers and investors,” the chief pointed out.
Amazon mentioned that the robot will ship later this year but only in the US, adding that its price will go up to $1,449.99.
“I believe the Astro robot will sell out in minutes when it becomes available in the US market,” Wood said. “I’m just gutted that it won’t be shipping in the UK in the foreseeable future.”