Are You Ready for a Home Robot?

By: Kassidy Coleman

(Photo source: ASUS/YouTube)

(Photo source: ASUS/YouTube)

Let’s be honest – you’ve wished you had your own personal robot like in the movies (i.e. Chappie, Robot & Frank, WALL-E) at least once. And with quickly advancing AI technology, it is likely to soon become more of a reality than a dream. More and more tech companies have been coming out with home robots or robotic personal assistants, but still none of them have seemed to live up to our expectations of what a robot should really be able to do for us. Yeah, Amazon Echo could be considered a “home robot,” but really, it is just a smart speaker. In late 2015, Jibo, dubbed the world’s first social robot, became available to the public. However, many people were disappointed that Jibo didn’t live up to its hype, because most of the stuff it did could be done more easily and efficiently from a phone. Well now there’s a new home robot coming to the market, Zenbo.

(Photo source: ASUS/YouTube)

(Photo source: ASUS/YouTube)

At Computex this year, ASUS introduced Zenbo, a home robot that could be considered useful to the entire family. ASUS chairman, Jonney Shih stated that the goal for this home robot is to really make every house a smarthouse. The home robot can offer entertainment, assistance, and companionship (which ASUS stated is mostly intended for the elderly).

Zenbo comes bearing an obnoxiously cute face. But besides being ridiculously adorable, it can turn your home into a real smart home – it can be integrated with smart home devices, meaning you’ll be able to change the channel on your TV, adjust your thermostat, and see who is at your front door, all from Zenbo’s face. You can also stream video, shop online, and make video calls, pretty much all the typical stuff one would expect to be able to do from a phone, tablet, or computer.

It can lighten the load at home by helping out with family activities such as reading recipes to you, read stories to the kids, and take pictures, which admittedly is pretty useful. Zenbo is also able to roam around the house in all directions and can follow voice commands.

(Photo source: ASUS/YouTube)

(Photo source: ASUS/YouTube)

So does this robot live up to our movie expectations of what a personal robot should be like? Well this robot is disappointingly nowhere near anything like Chappie. As far as looks go, this robot looks most similar to WALL-E. But the intended functionality of Zenbo might be most comparable to Robot in Robot & Frank, as ASUS has emphasized that this robot is really intended for the elderly, although it could really be useful to anybody. Unfortunately, right now home robots aren’t quite up to par with movie robots.

How do you feel about the growing presence of home robots? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter!

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