When it comes to completing everyday household tasks, everyone can use a little help now and then. That’s why technological aids are seemingly everywhere these days, from the ever-helpful Cortana on your laptop to the Amazon Echo, which uses Alexa to help you place orders with simple voice commands. Now, ASUS is entering the artificial intelligence (AI) market with a personal assistant that boasts a little more personality. Meet Zenbo, the adorable robotic companion that keeps an eye on all your home devices and quickly adapts to your personal preferences.
This charming little robot is more than just a sweet face. Unlike it’s stationary competition, Zenbo will cruise through the house to personally respond to requests, moving along lines and avoiding obstacles like a Roomba vacuum. Zenbo can also teach itself how to recognize the faces of individual family members and take pictures or videos on command. Interactive by design, the bot listens to voice commands and responds appropriately every time, with the ability to operate in several different languages.
Of course, Zenbo also performs tasks similar to other virtual assistants, serving as a hub for other smart household devices and connected services around the home. The difference is that Zenbo moves about and responds with undeniably adorable expressions, at long last bringing a lifelike face to AI. After all, many software programs can read a recipe out loud, but none also provide facial gestures and cute winks.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the first commercially-available home robot to offer assistance, entertainment, and companionship has also been equipped with storytelling and interactive game functionalities. It can monitor the home by connecting to smart security cameras and aid homeowners and seniors by notifying family members whenever there’s a fall or injury. This goes as far as letting you know if your toddler gets into the medicine cabinet or someone opens a window. Zenbo can also help the family stay connected via social media, shop online, and hear their favorite songs. He can even change the TV channel when you can’t locate the remote or turn lights on and off as you move through the house. With your personal comfort in mind, Zenbo will also turn on the air conditioning or crank up the heat when the weather’s less than ideal.
Although Zenbo can’t perform icky household chores like laundry and toilet cleaning, he can help you be more organized by providing reminders for upcoming events on your calendar like family portrait shoots, work meetings, and doctor’s appointments.
Artificial intelligence is extremely prevalent in Zenbo’s interactive capabilities, responding to simple voice commands in the appropriate way while also seeming to understand more complex requests like “follow me.” When providing step-by-step instructions for recipes and repairs, the little guy will even wait to read each step until you’re fully ready for them.
ASUS’ brilliant design has not gone unnoticed. In fact, Zenbo won big at the 2018 iF Design Awards, an international design competition with over 6,400 entries from 54 countries. The design was also recognized at the 2017 version of Computex Taipei, where they won three awards including Best Choice of the Year Award, Best Choice Golden Award, and the Computex d&i Award. With so much to offer, it seems like we’ll be seeing a lot more of our cartoonish friend in the future. For now, he’s on sale for the affordable price of $600.