As early adopters of Amazon’s invite-only smart home gadget begin to play around with their new bot, photos and videos of Astro in the real world have begun to emerge.
Surprisingly, despite the device’s release in November, only a few videos have surfaced thus far. Bob Rekieta shared this video of his Astro trundling away after being ordered to the den with a beer (presumably that someone put there, as this thing does not have hands).
Astro is then directed to “locate Celeste,” and the robot disarmingly tilts its screen while gazing about with its circular “eyes.” It follows the command, finding the home’s beer-loving resident and displaying “Hi Celeste” on its screen as it looks at her.
Matthew Nereim, a fifth-grade teacher from Florida, spoke with Bloomberg about his Astro, which he acquired a few months ago. According to Bloomberg, Nereim enjoys controlling the robot from his phone and using it to taunt his dog.
When he’s at home, he has Astro follow him around as a portable Alexa smart display that can even transport drinks in its onboard luggage holder. “It’s like having your own R2-D2,” Nereim explained to Bloomberg. “It’s hilarious to my friends and family.” “‘This creature is following you?!’ they exclaim. ’”
However, there are certain drawbacks, such as the robot getting confused when seeking its charging station and when it’s near stairs, according to Nereim. Thankfully, it does not appear to have ever flung itself down the stairs, as some accounts suggested when the robot was first announced.
According to Bloomberg, Nereim believes the retail price of $1,449.99 is a little much for what you get (he spent $999 as an early donor), and that $700 would be more realistic.
Astro, Amazon’s first house robot, was announced in September 2021 and is currently available for $999 through an invitation scheme. This is Amazon’s Day 1 beta program, in which customers can offer comments to help improve the item before it goes on sale to the general public.
“[They’re] seeing favorable feedback and learning a lot about how people want to use a consumer robot,” Amazon spokesperson Patrick Santucci told The Verge, adding that it’s still too early to say when the device will be more readily available.
Astro is a wheeled robot with a camera. The Astro app gives you a live view of its camera feed, allows you to control its movements remotely, and allows you to chat and listen through its speakers and microphones.
When it sees an unidentified person, it can operate as a home security robot and issue an alert. With a Ring Protect Pro plan subscription ($20 per month), you can access video footage for up to 60 days and schedule the robot to patrol autonomously and investigate activities it detects.
Astro can understand your home layout and heed directions to move to specific rooms, as illustrated in the video. It’s also capable of recognizing faces and delivering products to a specific individual. It can play music, show you the weather, and answer questions as a smart display.
With a 5-megapixel camera, video calling is also possible, and Amazon claims there are plans for it to connect with third-party devices to capture data such as blood pressure. When combined with Amazon’s new Alexa Together service, the tool could be useful for remotely caring for aged loved ones, according to Amazon.