The new Zenbo robot from Asus (ASUUY) was revealed at the Computex trade show in Taipei on May 29, 2016. The Zenbo robot, which will cost $599, is described as a home robot designed to be different things to different family members. Purchasers can use it as smart home manager, security guard, hands-free kitchen assistant, family photographer and more.
At first glance, the robot looks like a cross between ET and the robot BB-8 from Star Wars. The robot stands about two feet high, can understand spoken commands, and rolls around on its own on its wheels. Zenbo can also interact with smart home devices when instructed by a user’s voice commands, controlling lights, TVs, air conditioners, and other appliances. Asus says that the bot has proactive AI and will learn your preferences over time.
Many of Zenbo’s features are aimed at older people. Seniors can make video calls, stream videos, and use social networking with simple voice commands. They can also use the device to remind them of various events, like their doctor’s appointments, medication and exercise schedules, and family activities.
Zenbo can also keep a virtual eye out for emergencies. The robot can connect to a smart bracelet and alert relatives via smartphone app if their elderly relative has a fall. Anyone who has been notified can then take control of Zenbo and check the situation using the robot’s built-in camera.
Zenbo also has a number of features geared towards children. Zenbo can entertain them with interactive stories, which the robot reads in different voices. The robot also has learning games to improve creativity and thinking skills and an integrated sound system so the kids can sing and dance to songs.
Asus is opening up Zenbo’s SDK so it will have even more functions by the time it’s released. Developers can now sign up for a software kit that will let them build applications for the device. What these new applications will be is anyone’s guess.
There is still a lot that is not known about the new robot. Asus provided almost no technical details about the robot. There was no word when Zenbo will go on sale and a spokesman said Asus doesn’t yet have a ship date.