Several tech giants are trying to get artificial intelligence into your home by way of smart some speakers, but Amazon reportedly wants to take it a step further. Sources claim that Amazon is working on a home robot that will be unveiled later this year. The project is code named “Vesta” after the Roman goddess of the hearth, and it comes from the same top-flight hardware division (known as Lab126) that brought us the Echo speakers, Fire tablets, and the Fire Phone. Okay, that last one was a fluke, but Amazon has high hopes for home robotics.
The idea of a “domestic” robot should be familiar to everyone — they’ve existed in science-fiction for decades. The possibility you could have a robot around the house to help out is certainly tantalizing, but it’s unclear what Amazon’s robot would be able to do.
Engineers are reportedly working on Vesta prototypes with advanced computer vision similar to that in self-driving cars. The robots scan the environment and maneuver around obstacles to navigate your home. Sources who spoke to Bloomberg suggest the robot might be able to follow you around and act as a mobile Alexa-powered speaker, but that hardly seems like a sufficient reason to have a robot. An Echo Dot smart speaker costs less than $50. You can just plug more of those in around the house.
There are a few hints in Amazon’s recent engineering hires. The company has sought out experts in computer vision, sensor design, and general robotics. Amazon does have a separate Amazon Robotics subsidiary that had developed machines that can pick up and move objects, but sources say the project managed by Lab126 is developing a different technology. It’s a consumer angle instead of one to improve warehouse operations.
No one has made a successful “general purpose” home robot, but there have been attempts going back years. There was a $1,500 robot called Hero in the 1980s that could roll around and speak via speech synthesis. Yeah, not very enticing. The $500 Topo robot from the same era could carry items in small mechanized arms. Several companies have shown off robots recently, for example the Asus Zenbo. Few have made it past the tech demo stage. By far the most successful domestic robot is the Roomba, which only vacuums your floor.
If the Vesta project survives, Amazon could begin testing the device in homes in late 2018. A full consumer launch could happen as early as 2019.
Should Spectre, Meltdown Be the Death Knell for the x86 Standard?
Spectre and Meltdown are serious CPU flaws, but do they warrant throwing out the entire closed-source CPU model?
Nvidia Goes All-In On G-Sync With New ‘BFGD’ Ultra-High-End Displays
Nvidia is bringing some of the highest-end displays imaginable to market in 2018, with 4K panels, 120Hz refresh rates, low latency displays, integrated Nvidia Shields, and support for 1,000 nits of brightness in HDR. Yowza.
Huawei’s Phone Deal With AT&T Reportedly Killed On Account of Politics
The upcoming (and unannounced) deal with AT&T to sell the new Mate 10 series was supposed to be the start of Huawei's push into North America, but the deal has reportedly fallen apart at the last minute after AT&T got cold feet, and some sources point to a political cause.
ET Deals Roundup: $200 Gift Card with Samsung 4K TV for $600, $50 Price Drop on Inspiron 15 7000, and more
Ready to upgrade to a 4K television? Maybe you're looking for a new laptop for school, or searching for the perfect camera for an upcoming vacation. Well, there are plenty of discounts floating around this week, so we've put together a list of the hottest deals. If you're looking to save big on new gear, you're bound to find something worthwhile below.