Amazon launched a brand new robotic right now with the face of an Echo Present, the sensor-laden physique of Panera Bread supply bot, and a pair of cupholders for a trunk. The moment it was introduced, individuals clamored for a motive for its existence past “mobile camera with a cute face” and “potentially invasive surveillance drone.” Most appeared to decide on “beer fetcher.”

However pal, a pair of cupholders doesn’t a robowaiter make.

Whereas the $1,000 Astro might very nicely have all kinds of capabilities past residence surveillance, it’s not gonna be fetching you something. For one, it reportedly sucks. “Astro is terrible and will almost certainly throw itself down a flight of stairs if presented the opportunity,” a source who claimed to work on the project told Vice. One other supply advised Vice “it’s a disaster that’s not ready for release.” A robotic extra susceptible to tossing itself into the void than performing anticipated features isn’t gonna be grabbing that Heineken from the fridge.

It’s additionally unclear how nicely it could see something. Google and Snapchat have each closely invested in making a approach for computer systems to interpret the actual world with out guideposts like bar codes. Amazon has not. It may be the maker of Rekognition, a controversial facial recognition service, however its Ring ecosystem solely obtained the power to acknowledge packages… right now. How lengthy wouldn’t it take Astro to acknowledge a beer? And what occurs when that beer recognition expertise fails? You would end up with a refreshing bottle of ranch dressing as an alternative.

However the greatest downside isn’t the reviews that it sucks, or the failure to show it could distinguish between the varied contents of your fridge. The actual downside is the robotic has no arms!

There isn’t any approach for it to open a fridge, freezer, or perhaps a Yeti cooler. It could actually’t even open a door. It definitely can not attain right into a crowded fridge and pull out a chilly one. I concern individuals assume it is obtained some Doc Ock arms tucked away behind its face or are hoping these two cupholders rise out of the robotic to open the fridge through suction. They’ve seen the cupholders and assumed there’s a technique to get issues into them that don’t contain somebody within the different room serving to out.

A view of the Astro robot approaching a woman. A beer rests in its cupholder.

Who gave you that beer, Astro?!?!?!
Picture: Amazon

However there isn’t. At the moment, there seem like no plans to construct it a pair of grabbers — or perhaps a single appendage. The payload space the cupholders occupy does have a USB-C port, although! Theoretically, somebody might construct an arm. That arm might exchange the cupholders.

However that arm doesn’t but exist. Until you need to be shouting to housemates to stay a beer in your bot, the Astro is not going to be fetching you any form of beverage.


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