First Look at the $999 Astro

Texas News Today

Amazon Astro Household Robot

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Amazon on Tuesday unveiled its long-running $999 Astro household robot. I had the opportunity to see this last week in a demo with Amazon and I want to share some thoughts on what Astro is, what it can and can’t do, and why Amazon decided to build a home robot. I thought.

The Astro seems like an odd gadget for Amazon’s launch. The company is known as an online store. Plus, most of the operating income comes from the AWS Cloud business. Notably, Astro is a “Day 1 Edition” product, so it may not initially be sold to everyone. Instead, Amazon signs up with people and then invites them to order a robot. This allows Amazon to avoid manufacturing unsold gadgets or public flops like the Amazon Fire Phone, which was shut down in 2015.

Amazon said Astro will be available later this year, but did not specify a specific release date. (It’s worth noting that Amazon has made similar promises for future products that weren’t launched or were significantly delayed.)

So why is this robot?

Amazon Astro Household Robot

Todd Haselton | CNBC

“We meet sometimes and ‘what’s the change in technology?'” said Charlie Trichler, vice president of products at Amazon. Holds senior team meetings focused on “And we talked about AI and processors becoming more powerful and essentially the emergence of robotics. And one of the discussions was: And everyone said, “Exactly. “It was like that. So let’s go.”

According to Tritsler, Astro has put together most of what Amazon already offers in other products.

“We have more than 10 years of experience in fulfillment centers,” said Tritsler, of the company’s industrial robots that add products to carts in warehouses. “But we did put together devices, Amazon Prime Video, Alexa, home monitoring, and a lot more.”

This is a good representation of what we saw in the demo.

What is Astro?

Astro is about the size of a small dog. It spins around your house with three wheels, including two large wheels to keep it from gripping and a smaller rotating wheel. It has a camera that stands on a 42-inch arm that can monitor your home while you’re away. You can follow you, play music and watch TV shows on the 10-inch touch screen. With facial recognition (if needed), you can put two sodas in the back storage bins and ask Astro to go to someone in the living room.

The Astro is like many other Amazon gadgets at the wheel. These cameras can be used for home security and video chats. It’s like a combination of Amazon’s Ring Camera and EchoShow SmartScreen. The camera is also used to map the house when setting up Astro for the first time. You can talk to the Astro just like you talk to an Echo or Alexa (you can change the name to Alexa if you want), and get sports scores and weather. You can play movies and TV shows just like you would on an Amazon tablet or Fire TV.

Astro can carry luggage with this QB. You can also add accessories like cup holders and an Omron blood pressure monitor.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

We also saw how the Astro is controlled remotely from the Phone app. This is useful when you want to supervise a loved one who lives alone, such as an elderly family member. According to Tritschler, Amazon will also sell third-party inserts made by Omron. This insert fits into the rear storage compartment and houses the sphygmomanometer cuff. This allows people to remotely control the astro and encourages people living alone to check their blood pressure. This sounds convenient and opens Astro to an audience other than gadget geeks who want a home robot.

However, Astro has no arms or hands, so he can’t lift anything. This is not Rosie’s level in “The Jetsons” TV show. (Speaking of the show, the Astro wasn’t named after the Jetsons’ dog. Early testers preferred it to the others.) Plus, I can’t go up and down stairs, so I’m at home . Suitable for first floor only.

“Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do more with the operation? Do you have the skills to lift things, clean, and bring drinks off the floor? But with today’s technology and the cost of those technologies, the complexity, consumer-level Given the credibility, they’re not there yet,” Tritsler said. “And I realized it was a journey. You don’t have to do everything with the first product, so here we have mobility, intelligent motion, visual ID and other very difficult challenges to overcome. I noticed a few ..”

A periscope camera that stands out from the Amazon Astro robot.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

I’m wondering how I feel about Astro.

Even if you can’t clean up and get things out of the fridge, it’s great to have a household robot after all. Roaming robots, on the other hand, seem to be effective, so it’s unlikely you’ll need a home other than a conversation starter or home security at the current price.

I think Astro is most appealing to people who want to keep track of their loved ones who live alone, or who find it convenient to have a robot or sphygmomanometer with medicine in their cube.

The sensors on the front of Astro Robot help you prevent hitting objects.

Todd Haselton | CNBC

Tritschler said Amazon was bullish on robots and revealed it was just the first. Amazon has many ideas on how to make them even better. I knocked on the Amazon Echo when it first went on sale in 2014. Millions of people now have an Amazon Echo at home. Maybe the same for the Astros 10 years from now. That’s what Amazon is aiming for.


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