However, last year’s buzz was that Astro could be a home assistant to make your life more comfortable and interesting – a kind of cute, clumsy sidekick. This year, Amazon turned Astro into a device with a much more serious mission to provide a different perspective on what people value most: their pets, their home, their livelihood.
As with any surveillance technology you invite into your life, using Astro will require an element of trust. This time, however, you’ll extend that trust to a robot capable of roaming around your home. It may seem like a small step, but it’s a big step not only for how people interact with and view home robots, but also for Amazon’s involvement in our personal lives.
However, Maia Cakmak, an assistant professor at the University of Washington and head of the Human-Centered Robotics Lab, says Astro’s compatibility with other aspects of Amazon’s home surveillance ecosystem, namely Ring and Alexa, could help it succeed. “Astro can provide these services seamlessly,” Chakmak says.