Who wants to say hello to Astro? Amazon’s cool new home robot

"Astro, follow me"

Described as “Alexa on wheels”, Amazon has just announced its newest innovation: A little robotic helper named Astro.

Announced at a press conference on Tuesday, Amazon said “designed to help customers with a range of tasks like home monitoring and keeping in touch with family. It brings together new advancements in artificial intelligence, computer vision, sensor technology, and voice and edge computing in a package that’s designed to be helpful and convenient.”

Here’s what it can do:

It can check your home while you’re not around. For both safety and convenience, Astro can move around your home while you’re out and investigate things like noises and alarms, sending you alerts about unusual activity. It can also be programmed directly so if you can’t remember if you turned the stove off or you’re at the grocery store and you’re not sure if you need that extra box of pasta, Astro can go check for you and show you a live feed through its built-in camera.

It can Look out for loved ones. Amazon wants to make remote caring easier by making things simpler for those living independently. Astro can be used to set and deliver reminders, so grandpa never misses another pill or you can pop in and say hello using the Drop-in feature. It can also send alerts back to you, so you know loved ones are active and going about their day.

Bring Alexa to any room in the house. Gone will be the days of needing to have an Echo dot in every room of the house. Astro can follow you room to room while you’re watching a show or listening to music. You will also never miss another video call or alarm as it will actively search you out and while you are on that call, it will follow you, hands-free, to whichever room you move to.

There are a number of safety features on the Astro as well, including the ability to program out-of-bounds zones and clear indicators when streaming services are active.

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For now, Astro is available in mass production. Instead, Amazon is going with an invite-only approach to test the waters. Customers (only in the US, for now) can sign up to be one of the first to receive the limited quantity of Astros and if chosen, will receive an invitation and an introductory price of $999. When Astro does eventually hit the wider market, Amazon says the price will be $1500.

Featured image: Amazon via aboutamazon.com