Amazon introduced Astro, a household robot for home monitoring using the Alexa software, on 28 September 2021. The announcement came with a nearly three-minute video showing its several functionalities, such as sleek wheels for motion, self-charging, and much more.
On its sells page on the Amazon website, it also lists out the functionalities as follows:
- Amazon Astro uses advanced navigation technology – tagged Intelligent Motion – to find its way around the home and go where you need it. When you’re not using Astro, it will hang out close by at the ready.
- You can remotely send Astro to check on specific rooms, people, or things. Additionally, it sends alerts if it detects an unrecognized person or certain sounds when you’re away.
- It offers a 6-month free trial of Ring Protect Pro subscription and allows you to save videos in Ring’s cloud storage for up to 60 days, and more.
- For people with elderly dependents, you can care for aging loved ones even when not together. This gives you peace of mind while helping them live independently. As a plus, you can pre-set reminders, manage shopping lists, receive activity alerts, and more.
- Astro can follow you with entertainment or find you to deliver calls, messages, timers, alarms, or reminders.
- When you need privacy, you can turn off mics, cameras, and motion with one press of a button and use the Astro app to set out of bounds zones to let the Amazon robot know where it’s not allowed to go.
- Amazon Astro comes with a detachable cup holder that it can use to carry other items like a Ziploc container, the OMRON blood pressure monitor, and a Furbo Dog Camera that tosses treats to your pet. (However, this is sold separately).
A caveat adds that Astro cannot go up or down stairs.
How to buy Amazon Astro
For now, the Amazon Astro can only ship to addresses in the 50 US states. Also, according to The Verge, not just anyone can buy the robot. “You have to request an invite, a process which requires filling out a survey to indicate whether your house would be a good fit for Astro (which includes a question about what style stairs you have),” the tech website explained.
The pricing is rumoured to range from $1,000 to $1,449.
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Specifications of Astro Robot
Device: 16.7” L x 9.8” W x 17.3” H (424mm x 250mm x 440mm)
Charger: 11.0” L x 10.4” W x 5.0” H (280mm x 264mm x 127mm)
Device: 20.6 lbs (9.35 kg)
Charger: 3.9 lbs (1.75 kg)
Battery charge time –
Device charges in approximately 45 minutes using the included charger
Battery type –
Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery
Periscope height –
Extends up to 42” from the floor
10.1” HD touchscreen display, 1280×800 resolution
5MP bezel camera
1080p Periscope camera with 132° diagonal field of view
WiFi connectivity –
Dual band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth connectivity –
Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP) support for audio streaming from your mobile device to Astro or from Astro to your Bluetooth speaker. Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) for voice control of connected mobile devices. Hands-free voice control is not supported for Mac OS X devices. Bluetooth speakers requiring PIN codes are not supported.
2.1 System: 2 x 55mm full range front-firing speakers and a passive bass radiator
2x Qualcomm QCS605, 1x Qualcomm SDA660, 1x processor with Amazon AZ1 Neural Edge
You can enable Alexa captioning and closed captioning, magnify the screen, toggle color inversion, and choose between color correction options. You can also enable the VoiceView screen reader to use gestures to navigate the screen and hear spoken feedback about the items you select.
Warranty and service –
1-year limited warranty. Use of Amazon Astro is subject to Amazon’s Conditions of Use and the terms found here. Optional extended warranty from SquareTrade available for US customers sold separately.
Included in the box –
Astro (device), cargo bin liner and cup holder, charger and 6ft power cable, quick start guide, and welcome kit.
To operate Astro, an active Amazon.com account, compatible mobile device running iOS 13+ or Android 8+, and the Astro app are required.
Not suitable for use around children under 3 years of age or small pets. For indoor use only.
While it is not yet in use enough to have public reviews, details from inside Amazon reveals that even the engineers are not satisfied with its performance. According to a Vice report, one person who worked on the robot, called it a “disaster that’s not ready for release,” while another said it was “terrible,” and added that the idea that it’d be a useful accessibility device was “absurdist nonsense.”
There are also claims that the Astro robot is so fragile that it already has several broken devices. However, Amazon claimed that the insiders were citing old documents that reflected outdated problems which have been fixed.
“These characterizations of Astro’s performance, mast, and safety systems are simply inaccurate. Astro went through rigorous testing on both quality and safety, including tens of thousands of hours of testing with beta participants. This includes comprehensive testing on Astro’s advanced safety system, which is designed to avoid objects, detect stairs, and stop the device where and when necessary,” Amazon said about the story. It released this statement through The Verge.
When you eventually get your hands on Amazon Astro Robot, leave a review in the comment section below.
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