Over the past 20 years, we’ve heard a lot about how robots – and automation of every kind – will improve the future. Amazon describes Astro, its new Alexa-enabled bot on wheels, as “a new kind of home robot that integrates advanced hardware, software, computer vision and AI.” Its design, complete with animated eyes and a bunch of sounds, has a playful WALL-Esque feel. Sounds fun, right?
But Astro isn’t all games and giggles. It underscores Amazon’s seriousness about robotics, which it’s spent years developing in its warehouses. And it shows how serious Amazon is about penetrating every corner of your home with its devices.
Astro is the manifestation of an Echo Show tablet, Alexa voice assistant and Ring home security system mash-up. We’ve seen this movie before – borrowing parts from other things to create an animated new object with designs on impressing the world. The movie was Frankenstein. And it didn’t end well.