ASUS Unveils Zenbo Home Companion Robot
ASUS Unveils Zenbo Home Companion Robot
Written by Lucy Black   
Wednesday, 01 June 2016

Zenbo is yet another home robot intended to play a helping role for young and old alike. The important points to note are that it comes from ASUS and is priced at just $599, making it a competitive commercial product.

ASUSZenbo

ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih was joined on stage at the  Zenvolution press event at Computex 2016 by Zenbo, the first ASUS robot. This clip of the event shows us that Zenbo is a knee-high mobile robot who responds to commands and can talk back:

 

Introducing Zenbo Shih said: 

β€œFor decades, humans have dreamed of owning such a companion: one that is smart, dear to our hearts, and always at our disposal. Our ambition is to enable robotic computing for every household.”

More information about what Zenbo could do for its owners the press release says:

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 β€” such as falls β€” 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. 

This scenario is played out in this promo video, but be warned as promo videos go it is far from successful and has attracted lots of down votes on YouTube: 

 

From the video you can also judge how good Zenbo is in its role as an entertaining storyteller for children, at finding and reading out suitable recipes, and taking photographs. Zenbo is also supposed to be able to express emotions with many different facial expressions but the ones I noticed were by no means uplifting. It is also worth bearing in mind that these videos are not necessarily the unvarnished truth.

Before Zenbo gets to market, where its price tag alone will make it attractive, let's hope some improvements will have been made. ASUS is encouraging us to join the Zenbo Developer Program which is free and open for all to join.

 

zendosq

 

Both Buddy and Jibo, two crowd funded robots that are intended to occupy similar roles, also have SDKs, so if you are want to get into this area check them out as well. 

 

More Information

 https://zenbo.asus.com/

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