Amazon Astro robot
Source: Amazon

Amazon Unveils New Devices at Tech Event, Including Astro Robot

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Sep. 29 2021, Published 10:06 a.m. ET

During Amazon’s fall product presentation on Sep. 28, the company showcased a suite of new and upcoming products. As usual, the company brought several new technological devices to attract customers and connect them to the world of Amazon.

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The one product that “stole the show,” according to CNET, is Amazon’s new autonomous home robot, Astro. The robot’s appearance was the grand finale of the Amazon device event. Using Amazon’s AI technology, Astro can map out a floor plan, monitor goings-on in the house, and launch video calls with loved ones, among other features.

What can the Amazon Astro robot do?

According to Amazon vice president of products Charlie Tritschler, the Astro is a project several years in the making. In a company meeting described on the Amazon blog, he stated, “We all believed in a future where every home would have at least one robot helping with everyday tasks.”

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astro_lifestyle_comms
Source: Amazon Press

Amazon Astro can connect people with loved ones remotely as well as perform many other tasks.

These were some Astro's uses that the company highlighted:

  • Home monitoring—the robot can check specific areas of your home and send alerts about things such as an unrecognized person, a stove left on, or a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm.

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  • Care for loved ones—Astro can check on elderly relatives remotely, give reminders and alerts about how someone is doing throughout the day, and work with Alexa Together to provide 24/7 emergency assistance.
  • Home security with Amazon Ring—as part of the Amazon Ring Protect Pro subscription, Astro can monitor the home and save video footage via cloud storage.

This robot was designed to have a personality that makes it enjoyable to engage with. The company even said during testing that they were “humbled by the number of people who said Astro’s personality made it feel like a part of their family.”

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The Amazon Astro robot is expected to be available before the end of the year for an introductory price of just under $1,000 in the U.S., and interested customers can sign up for an invite. After the promotional period, the price will be $1.449.99.

Privacy concerns with Amazon robot

The company stated that safety features and privacy controls are foundational to the Astro. The robot has safety sensors to detect obstacles in the home, such as stairs or pets. It offers on-device processing to recognize household residents and to react quickly to events.

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To alleviate privacy concerns, Astro users can designate “out-of-bounds” areas where the robot is not permitted to go. There’s also the option to turn off microphones and video at any time.

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Amazon’s fall product event

Sep. 28 marked the e-commerce company’s livestreamed media event where it unveiled a variety of Amazon-branded tech devices. In addition to the Astro autonomous robot, Amazon is launching an interactive video chat portal for kids, a Ring property security device, an Echo digital whiteboard, and a fitness tracking device:

  • Echo Show 15—a large Echo device to be mounted on walls or cabinets, for $249.
    • Halo View—a $79 fitness device to track activity, sleep, blood oxygen, and workouts. It comes with a subscription to Halo with a nutrition program.
    • Amazon Glow—a $249 interactive video chat device for kids, enabling real-time play with loved ones remotely.
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