Amazon’s next big leap in hardware: a personal robot.
On Tuesday, Amazon announced Astro, a home robot the company says can help owners keep up with tasks such as home monitoring or keeping in touch with family and friends.
“One of the things I love about working at Amazon is inventing the future, and I’ve spent a lot of time since that day on a team that’s imagining how robots can help customers in new ways at home,” said Charlie Tritschler, vice president of products at Amazon in a blog post.
It’s available by invite only for $999.99.
Astro takes advantage of both Alexa and Ring, its line of home security offerings. The robot can be set to autonomously roam around your home to check for safety. For example, if you worry about leaving a stove on, you can ask Astro to check.
Users can also ask Astro for information similar to Alexa, and with a display serving as the robot’s head, they can also watch movies and TV shows as well as accept video calls.
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The robot was revealed during an event streamed by Amazon, one of several devices including a flying Ring camera and new version of the Echo Show announced.
Tritschler said Amazon worked on giving Astro a personality, too. It uses a combination of digital eyes on the screen and specific movements or tones.
“Astro’s personality not only helps it communicate intent and offer delightful experiences, but it also evokes emotions like empathy when people use the device,” he wrote.
Amazon says several features have been added to Astro for owners concerned with privacy, such as the ability to turn off microphones and cameras and the option to set out-of-bounds zones within your home.
The arrival of Astro is just the beginning. More companies are exploring robotics, and not just for vacuuming. Earlier this year, during the Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung unveiled Handy, which can help owners around the house with tasks like unloading the dishwasher.
Meanwhile, entrepreneur Elon Musk unveiled the Tesla Bot last month. The humanoid robot was designed to help with physical tasks that might be unsafe for humans.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.