Yesterday Amazon revealed the new AI-powered robot called “Astro” which is specifically designed to help owners with a range of tasks like monitoring the home or keeping in touch with family or checking on the home if the owner is away so Astro can make sure your home is safe, and much more things Astro can do through Astro app.
Astro robot is built with numerous advanced technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Computer Vision, Sensor Technology, and voice and edge computing.
Astro’s capability to move provides not just functionality and customer value, but also a new way to interact with technology that is enjoyable, interesting, and engaging. “During development, we realized giving Astro a personality would make regular interactions more delightful. We used feedback from hundreds of internal testers, and also took inspiration from film, TV, games, and animation principles to develop a persona that makes Astro unique,” said Charlie Tritschler, Vice President of Products at Amazon.
Astro communicates using its rotational screen’s digital eyes, body gestures, and emotional tones. Its personality is also beneficial—it hangs out in locations where it may be most useful, for example. That’s usually in the kitchen when I’m asking for a recipe or sending Astro to inform my family that dinner is ready.
Astro’s personality not only benefits in communicating purpose and providing enjoyable experiences, but it also stimulates feelings such as empathy when users interact with the device.
“We were humbled by the number of people who claimed Astro’s personality made it feel like a member of their family and that they would miss having the device in their house once it was gone during testing. That kind of connectivity is uncommon in consumer electronics, but we expect it to become more prevalent with Astro and other future home robots.” – Amazon
Building Astro is not an easy task it required innovative experience to solve hard scientific challenges, the company said. The most important task for them is to move Astro autonomously around the house, so they have added to him Intelligent Motion, the technology that gives Astro mobility, uses advances in simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) to help Astro understand where it is, and autonomously navigate around dynamic home environments that constantly change.
Astro can navigate around items that weren’t on the floor before, or even a few seconds ago, thanks to clever onboard technologies that modify routes in real-time. Astro additionally supports a new computer vision feature called visual ID, which allows household members to educate Astro to recognize them so that it may send a reminder or call them, or even find someone to carry them anything you’ve put in Astro’s cargo bin.
Here’s what Astro robot can do:
- Check in on your home: When you’re away, Astro helps provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is safe. Astro can move autonomously around your home, navigate to check in on specific areas, show you a live view of rooms through the Astro app, or even send alerts if it detects an unrecognized person. If you want to see if you left the stove on, or to confirm you have all the ingredients you need for dinner in the pantry while you’re still at the store, you can send Astro to check or use its built-in periscope camera to take a better look. With Alexa Guard, Astro can also detect the sound of a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, or glass breaking, and send an alert to your phone—helping you keep your home safe, even when you’re somewhere else.
- Helps you look out for loved ones: Astro will be able to help customers who are remotely caring for elderly relatives and loved ones. Your loved one can ask Astro to set and deliver reminders, or you can use Drop In to stay connected. When used with Alexa Together, a new service designed to help family members feel more comfortable and confident living independently, family members can set up Reminders and receive alerts to give caregivers the reassurance that their loved ones are active and going about their day. Alexa Together also gives loved ones 24/7 hands-free access to Urgent Response, a professional emergency helpline.
- Provides peace of mind with Ring: Astro also works with Ring, adding to the peace of mind in keeping your home safe. With Ring Protect Pro, a new subscription service from Ring, you can set Astro to autonomously patrol your home when you’re out, proactively investigate when an event is detected, and automatically save video clips to your Ring cloud storage, which you can review from anywhere in the Ring or Astro apps.
- Brings Alexa to you around the home: When you’re home, Astro brings the benefits of Alexa to you, including information, entertainment, smart home control, and more. Astro can follow you from room to room while playing your favorite shows, podcasts, or music. It can also find you to deliver reminders, let you know that a timer went off, snap a family photo, and notify you of incoming Alexa calls—with the ability to follow you around your home while you are on the call.
Astro also offering privacy, safety, and customer control features to keep your data safe, including:
- Advanced safety system: Astro’s system of safety sensors, combined with a dedicated safety processor, works to detect features like stairs and obstacles in real time. For example, control features, such as active and passive braking, can help stop the device if a pet suddenly moves into Astro’s path.
- On-device processing: Astro was designed to handle a lot of the data processing on the device, including the images and raw sensor data it processes as it moves around your home. This helps Astro respond quickly to its environment. In addition, your visual ID is stored on the device, and Astro uses on-device processing to recognize you.
- Out of bounds zones: After you allow Astro to explore the layout of your home, you can designate areas that are off-limits. These out of bounds zones let Astro know where it’s not allowed to go. When told an area is out of bounds, Astro will avoid entering these spaces, and it will even leave the area if manually placed in an out of bounds zone.
- Microphones/cameras off: Like Echo devices, Astro has a microphones/cameras-off button customers can press whenever they want to turn off cameras, mics, and motion. When this button is pressed, Astro cannot move, or capture video or audio, and a dedicated red LED is illuminated to match the red status indicator on screen.
- Clear indicators when streaming features are active: Astro makes it easy to understand what it’s doing at any given moment. It has an easy-to-see LED light on top of its periscope to let you know when it is streaming video or audio to the cloud. For example, the indicator light on top of Astro’s periscope will turn green whenever video is streamed to the cloud, like when live view is in progress. You may also see a picture-in-picture view of your own video or another on-screen indicator. When Astro detects the wake word, a visual indicator signals that Astro is recording your voice request to stream to the cloud. For example, the indicator light on top of Astro’s periscope will turn blue.
Astro will cost $1,449.99, but as part of the Day 1 Edition program, it will be available for an introductory price of $999.99 with a six-month trial of the Ring Protect Pro subscription included. Astro will be available in limited quantities, and Amazon will plan to start granting invitations and shipping devices to customers in the U.S. later this year. See Astro at Amazon.