Asus announces the $600 Zenbo home robot

من طرف Matar Khalifa
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Asus unveiled a number of new products at Computex 2016 including new Zenfone Android devices and a few Intel-powered laptops. It also ventured into a new product category with Zenbo, a connected robot that rolls around the house accepting voice commands and scaring pets. Asus’ first home robot will run you $599, which isn’t cheap for something that’s more a novelty than a necessity.

Zenbo has a swiveling head with a large touchscreen display and a round body. It’s a little strange that when you use the touchscreen you’re basically poking the robot in the eye. Zenbo actually looks a lot like the old “sunflower” G4 iMac, especially when seen from the side. Asus put together a video showing off some of the things Zenbo can do. It’s 11 solid minutes of cringey acting and unrealistic situations. You have been warned.

Having a Zenbo robot around the house means you’ll get audio reminders of calendar events and other important information. You can talk to Zenbo to issue commands, which of course it understands perfectly in the demo video. The robot’s built-in camera can also be used to navigate around obstacles, follow you around, recognize faces, make video calls, and take photos. It also connects to smart home devices, but Asus didn’t go into detail about what exactly that entailed. There’s even a strange sequence in the video above where Zenbo sends an SOS after its human master takes a little tumble.

The market for consumer helper robots isn’t exactly huge right now, mostly because the technology isn’t there yet. Zenbo can’t hold things, climb stairs, or get the mail — it just provides information and understands voice commands. Your phone or tablet already does that. Asus is going to have an uphill struggle to convince people they need a $600 tablet on wheels.

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