Meet Zenbo, ASUS’ Crazy Answer to a Home Assistant

ASUS today, alongside the new ZenFone family, announced a crazy new home assistant called Zenbo which is literally a robot that follows you around your house by using cameras. It’s main purpose is basically the same purpose as Amazon Echo and Google Assistant have, however Zenbo beefs up the game with some unique tricks.

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Zenbo is great for seniors, kids, and pretty much anyone who wants a real robot to follow them and obey their every command. As per ASUS’ official press release about Zenbo,

Zenbo is designed for everyone, but he has specific functionality that helps senior family members safeguard their health and well-being as well as enjoy a connected digital life. As a home care assistant, he proactively provides convenient, spoken reminders of important information, such as doctor’s appointments, medication and exercise schedules, and anything else that needs to be remembered. Zenbo also monitors the home for emergency situations — such as falls — and immediately responds to them by notifying specified family members on their smartphones, no matter where they are. When they receive an emergency notification, family members can remotely control Zenbo to move nearby and use Zenbo’s built-in camera to visually check on their loved one. Zenbo is also a friendly companion who helps to bridge the digital divide between generations by making it easy to accomplish a variety of online tasks — including making video calls, using social media, shopping, and streaming movies and TV shows — using voice commands and guided help.

There’s also plenty of cool features to interact with kids as well, like the ability to read books, play games and music, and take selfies with your children. All in all, this is a very capable machine for anyone who wants something they can depend on to get stuff done or assist them during everyday tasks.

A kind-of-creepy robotic voice is built into Zenbo to interact with you and might scare you a bit, however it’s not as bad as some voice assistants’ still are. If the video above is of any accuracy, there’s a moderately lengthy delay between you giving a command and Zenbo performing it. However, with software updates and hardware improvements before it hits the market, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about.

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To the average adult, Zenbo should stand around knee height, which is pretty big since originally I amongst I’m sure a bunch of other people thought this robot was much shorter at first. It’s face doubles as a touch screen and displays many different emotions, however I haven’t seen it cry yet.

Using the available SDK, developers can build in compatibility to their apps so Zenbo can interact with them. This will allow operations such as, “Hey Zenbo, get me a pizza,” or, “Hey Zenbo, hail me an Uber” to be performed without any difficulty.

By now, you’re probably thinking, “Oh my God! This thing’s gonna cost like $2,000 or something! I can’t afford this!” Well, actually, you may be able to pick up your own Zenbo without breaking the bank. This mobile home assistant will only run for $599 when it launches. That only makes this robot about $300 more than Amazon’s Alexa smart home assistant, which isn’t too bad since you get so much more for that extra three Benjamins.

You can learn more about Zenbo over on ASUS’ website.


Source: ASUS via The Verge




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