Robotics

Asus aims for the heart of the home with cute do-it-all robot

Asus says that the Zenbo has been designed to help senior family members safeguard their health and well-being, and enjoy a connected digital life
Asus says that the Zenbo has been designed to help senior family members safeguard their health and well-being, and enjoy a connected digital life
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The Zenbo can understand spoken commands
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The Zenbo can understand spoken commands
The Zenbo has a built-in camera, sports "high quality" integrated speakers and features a tablet-like interface capable of showing emotive expressions
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The Zenbo has a built-in camera, sports "high quality" integrated speakers and features a tablet-like interface capable of showing emotive expressions
Asus says that the Zenbo has been designed to help senior family members safeguard their health and well-being, and enjoy a connected digital life
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Asus says that the Zenbo has been designed to help senior family members safeguard their health and well-being, and enjoy a connected digital life
The Zenbot can help keep the kids amused with interactive storytelling
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The Zenbot can help keep the kids amused with interactive storytelling
The Zenbo's tablet-like display shows emotive expressions
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The Zenbo's tablet-like display shows emotive expressions
Asus chairman Jonney Shih having a chat with Zenbo at Computex
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Asus chairman Jonney Shih having a chat with Zenbo at Computex

At Computex today, Asus revealed the Zenbo home robot. Kind of like Echo meets Keecker with a bit of Pepper sprinkled in the mix, it's been created to offer busy modern family members a helping hand with everyday tasks like keeping the kids entertained, controlling connected smart devices and providing recipe inspiration for mealtimes. The company also sees it acting as a remote guardian for the elderly.

The Zenbo is being pitched as an entertainment center, personal assistant and home automation controller. It's able to move around the home on its own thanks to large wheels on its sides powered by electric drive, or listen out for voice commands from its owner. For homes with more than one floor level, however, it might be an idea to check where the home bot actually is before calling out for assistance, unless a Zenbo rolling, bumping and crashing down the stairs is something you particularly want to see.

When it's not displaying family photos or videos taken with its built-in camera, or acting as a touchscreen interface, its tablet-like display shows emotive expressions. It sports "high quality" integrated speakers for playing music or interacting with users, and is capable of recognizing natural speech and responding appropriately.

The Zenbo's tablet-like display shows emotive expressions
The Zenbo's tablet-like display shows emotive expressions

The Zenbo will be able to connect to home smart devices wirelessly – adjusting the air conditioner, turning lights on or off, controlling the family television, seeing who is calling through a front door cam and unlocking the smart lock remotely, and so on. Asus says that the home robot is able to learn and adapt to user preferences thanks to cooked-in artificial intelligence.

It could also announce appointment or medication reminders to seniors, and send out an SOS to a family member's smartphone if an elderly relative gets in trouble, and offer a live video feed for peace of mind comms.

When home-owners are away, the Zenbo's camera feed can be accessed remotely via a smartphone app. And the call has already gone out to developers to help expand Zenbo's feature set, by signing up for access to the free SDK via the source link below.

Asus hasn't offered any technical information on the robot at all, though chairman Jonney Shih did demonstrate a working model at a press conference in Taipei earlier today. The release date is also something of an unknown, but the price is something we can tell you. The Zenbo will cost just US$599.

You can see the cheerful home bot in action in the rather cheesy video below.

Source: Asus

5 comments
Timelord
It looks like the offspring of BB-8 and H.E.R.B.I.E. (of Fantastic Four fame).
Derek Howe
Nope, this is not the droid you're looking for. People want a robot maid, that cleans your house (vacuum, dishes, dusting, laundry), if someone makes a robot that can do that...IT WILL SELL LIKE CRAZY. I don't need or want, an amazon echo on wheels.
Paul Anthony
That was one impressive production for a video makes me want zenbo and it's going to make my life wonderful
GregWest
I would think the fact that everyone pretty much is already walking around with one or more of the following robots, Siri, Iris, Cortana, Alexa and or Ok Google would eat in to the market share potential. Like the poor fkrs that invested in TomTom right when all phones came out with GPS nav.
ShaneDavis
Aaaaand this is how it starts. Sure they look cute now, but just wait until they're humanoid and capable of crushing our skulls and then some hacker figures out how to make them bypass the first law of robotics! then before you know it, dun dun dun dedun! Judgement day fools!
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