If you thought that household robots were something for the future or that only the super-rich could afford, think again. Asus is developing a bot with a much more affordable price tag.
Zenbo will help you out with everything from reading recipes aloud to assisting older members of the family if they have an accident.
What’s more, the robot will react to voice commands, making it feel like the most obedient helper you’ve ever had.
Sound too good to be true? Well, Asus wants the technology to be accessible to everyone. That means it will come in at $599 (£415), putting it at a similar price to a laptop, as opposed to the indispensable home helper you never knew you needed.
If you’re finding it hard to imagine what Zenbo will look like, think Wall-E, as opposed to C-3PO. He’s cute and has some animate qualities, but is not so much like a human that it’ll freak you out.
Zenbo has an expressive face that can turn into a touchscreen or even a monitor for watching videos or acting as a camera display. His gentle voice can be used to issue reminders, such as that daily medicine you always forget to take, or to answer your questions.
He can also play with your kids, although you might want to set him other tasks to do, freeing you up for this more personal one.
Being on wheels, Zenbo can move around the house easily and interact with other electronic devices or act as guard dog if you’re out.
We’ve all become used to tailoring our devices to our own needs by adding apps or adjusting settings, but the new bot will go one step further. Zenbo is equipped with artificial intelligence, meaning he can learn behaviour from interaction with humans and up his performance as time goes on.
Before you know it, he’ll be just like another member of the family, but one that does what he’s told first time!
If Zenbo sounds like the robot you’ve always wanted, he’s set to hit the shops later this year. Could this be the start of robot assistants becoming commonplace in the home?