What you need to know
- Amazon Astro is the company’s first home robot and retails for $1,450, with a special introductory price of $999.
- Sign-ups are available today and the robot is expected to begin shipping later this year.
- Astro uses on-board processing and SLAM algorithms to intelligently map and navigate around your home.
- Astro can also be used to make video calls thanks to its large front-facing screen.
Amazon’s late-September 2021 event unveiled a host of new devices and services, including new Blink cameras, tons of new Ring devices, and now a home robot that doubles as a security dog. Amazon Astro is the company’s first home robot and Amazon hopes it’s cute enough to keep you from getting the heebie-jeebies.
The form factor is similar enough to the mouse droids found in the Star Wars universe, but with a much more pronounced set of wheels, swappable storage compartment on the back, and a rotating, tilting Amazon Echo Show on the front. Amazon took the time to talk about how much personality they built into the device, and it all starts with the eyes.
You’ll find a pair of eyes prominently featured on the display, showing a range of emotions when Astro communicates with anyone in the household. As Astro roams around, it might display different messages on the screen, including things like “live view” when streaming or it detects a possible intruder in your home.
A bevy of cameras and sensors can be found all around Astro, enabling everything from video calling on that large display to intelligent mapping and navigation thanks to a custom SLAM (simultaneous location and mapping) algorithm Amazon developed for the product. All the best robot vacuums use SLAM to navigate, but Amazon’s implementation with its own chips enabled Astro to learn about its surroundings as well as navigate them.
When Astro needs a better view of a room, it can extend its periscope camera, found behind the display. That can be used to allow remote viewing of any part of your home or just to get a better angle for your video calls.
Astro ties in with Amazon Alexa routines and can be programmed to fit in with your daily needs. Astro also supports features like do not disturb, out-of-bounds zones, and more.
Amazon Astro can be preordered through Amazon’s Day 1 program for $999 and ships later this year. Astro’s normal price is $1,449.99, so if you’re interested, it makes sense to sign up for it right away.
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