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Amazon’s Home Assistant Robot, Astro, Gets New Upgrades


A year since its limited launch, Amazon adds new customer-inspired upgrades to their home assistant robot, Astro.

As more people return to their daily routines outside, the concern regarding home security is raised as our nests become empty for the most part. With Amazon’s home assistant robot, Astro, homeowners can leave their homes at ease because this robot is designed to patrol, monitor, and even report back to you in real-time all the activities happening inside the house.

That goes without saying that Astro can also assist you while you’re at home. When integrated with Alexa Together, the Astro robot can deliver small items like bottles and vitamins to wherever you are at home. The Astro robot can also serve as a walking and talking home assistant that will prompt reminders, timers, and alerts ensuring that you never forget an important task or date again. In case of an emergency, Astro can also be prompted to call for help via Amazon’s 24/7 Professional Urgent Response Team.

With such features and more, the $1,000 price tag of Astro can arguably be reasonable. However, after the Day One offering of Astro (by invitation only), Amazon reportedly received many customer requests to also include pet detection and specific window and door recognition features. It seems like Amazon listened as the Astro now comes with these customer-inspired upgrades!

Amazon's Home Assistant Robot, Astro, Gets New Upgrades

Using a periscope camera, the Astro home assistant robot can now have an expandable view of a room and record the surroundings, including pets. For the time being, the periscope camera can only detect cats and dogs. Astro can, however, send you a short video clip of your furry friend lounging at home and even start a Live View so you can say hi to your pet in case you miss them already.

Leveraging the periscope camera and artificial intelligence upgrade, the Astro robot can now also alert you if any door or window is left open by sending you a photo of the door or window in question. Along with the photo, the Astro robot will ask for your validation if said door or window should be left open and will use your answer for future reference. With this feature, the Astro robot can give you added security may you be in or out of the house.

Amazon's Home Assistant Robot, Astro, Gets New Upgrades

Seeing the imminent need for more customer-inspired upgrades in the future, Amazon will soon be sharing its software development kit (SDK) for Astro with three universities; the University of Michigan, Georgia Tech, and the University of Maryland.

With this move, robotics students of said universities can be part of the process of creating third-party feature development and upgrades for Astro. This also tells us that Amazon may have plans on designing Astro as a home assistant robot that can be upgraded and expanded with functions and features.

Speaking of upgrades, Amazon may be planning more up their sleeves as they have acquired iRobot, the company that built the popular Roomba robot vacuum. Perhaps with the technology of iRobot, we may see more new upgrades for the Astro robot, Alexa, and maybe even future robot pets under Amazon soon!

Linda Takahashi

American-born New Yorker Linda Johnson has been fascinated with robotic machines since she was a teenager, when her father, a surgeon, would introduce to her the machines that he used to perform keyhole surgeries. This interest led her to pursue a tech degree at the University of Washington, where she met Sota Takahashi. They married and now have two children. Linda’s father developed dementia later on and was given a robot pet as a companion. She saw how much having a robot pet friend helped her father, which is what led her to create this website and advocate to spread word about robot pets and how they can help both children and the elderly.

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